Business & Finance

Bank of America will cut 12,500 jobs over the next two years. The announcement Monday came a week after completion of a $47 billion merger with FleetBoston Financial Corp. that makes the combined company the third largest bank in the nation. About one-third of the cuts will occur as workers quit or retire and are not replaced, the announcement said. The remainder will be made through layoffs and unfilled vacancies. Despite having relatively few overlapping branches, a common target in bank consolidations, Bank of America expects to realize enough operating efficiencies to achieve $1.6 billion in cost savings by the end of next year, chief executive Ken Lewis said.

News Corp., the multimedia giant of tycoon Rupert Murdoch, announced it will reincorporate in the US from Sydney, Australia, by year's end - to improve access to capital markets and to "significantly expand [its] shareholder base." At the same time, the company said it intends to maintain its listing on the Australian Stock Exchange and pledged to hold periodic meetings at the senior management level with shareholders there. Among its vast properties are the Fox Entertainment Group (dozens of over-the-air television stations in the US as well as cable TV channels and the Twentieth Century Fox motion picture studio); cable and satellite TV operations in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America; HarperCollins and other book publishers; and The Times (London), The New York Post, and scores of other newspapers. More than 70 percent of its sales come from its US businesses.

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