Business & Finance

Owens-Illinois Inc., one of the world's biggest glass container manufacturers, has agreed to sell its molded-plastic container business to Graham Packaging Co. of York, Pa., in a $1.2 billion cash deal, the companies announced Wednesday. Graham Packaging, a unit of the BlackstoneGroup, a New York private equity firm, will add 24 plants, mostly in the US, to 57 existing plants in North America, Europe, and Latin America. The sale allows Owens-Illinois, based in Toledo, Ohio, to concentrate on its glass container business.

R.H. Donnelley Corp., which publishes Yellow Pages directors in 18 states, agreed to a $1.42 billion cash purchase of phone directory publishing businesses in Illinois and northwest Indiana owned by joint-venture partner SBC Communications, CBS Marketwatch reported Wednesday. Donnelley is based in Purchase, N.Y.

Russia's Justice Ministry said that OAO Yukos Oil Co., which produces 1.6 million barrels a day, can keep producing and selling oil despite a ban on the sale of its physical properties, reported Wednesday. The clarification by the government, which is seeking billions of dollars in back taxes from Russia's largest oil producer, came amidst reports that Yukos might halt exports, thus disrupting international oil supplies.

The Charles Schwab Corp., the discount brokerage based in San Francisco, will close 53 branch offices, leaving about 280 worldwide, the company announced Wednesday. The cost-cutting measures, and the reinstallation of founder Charles Schwab as CEO on July 20, are designed to reenergize Schwab, which faces increased competition from rivals that charge lower commissions.

Tata Consultancy Services, a leader in luring Western companies to do software development work in India, began selling 55.45 million shares Thursday to raise up to $1.25 billion. Within half an hour, it received bids for 10 million shares in what is billed as the biggest IPO in India's stock market history.

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