Business & Finance

Northrop Grumman Corp. will split an $8.4 billion Navy contract with rival General Dynamics, the companies said Friday. The deal calls for construction of five Virginia-class submarines over five years and brings their combined tally for such vessels to 10.

Unable to agree to renewal terms, the Walt Disney Co. and Pixar Animation Studios announced they'll end their highly successful distribution partnership next year. Pixar still owes Disney two films under the current contract, which has generated such hits as "Finding Nemo" and "Toy Story." Dissident shareholder Roy Disney criticized Thursday's collapse of talks as an example of Disney chief Michael Eisner's inability to retain creative talent. Warner Brothers, Fox, and Sony all expressed interest in a potential deal with Pixar, which is based in Emeryville, Calif.

Software giant Oracle Corp. confronted a new obstacle in its $7.5 billion attempted hostile takeover of rival PeopleSoft: a hurry-up shareholder meeting to reelect the latter's board of directors. The PeopleSoft meeting, normally held in late May, was scheduled for March 25. Oracle has been campaigning for the election of five alternative directors who are considered favorable to a merger. PeopleSoft alleges all five would have "irreconcilable conflicts of interest" because they are being compensated in cash by Oracle. In the meantime, analysts noted, the Justice Department is expected to issue a long-awaited ruling on whether such a merger would damage competition in the $20 billion-a-year business software market.

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