Business & Finance

IBM will hire almost 4,000 more people this year than the 15,000 forecast earlier, the company announced late last week. The world's top provider of computer hardware cited a favorable business climate in such areas as consulting, grid computing, and the Linux operating system. No details were available on how many jobs already have been added. One-third of the new positions will be in the US. Overall, IBM's workforce of 330,000 will reach its highest level since 1991, the company projected.

Google Inc. is expected to close its eagerly anticipated initial public offering this week amid a furor caused by publication of an interview with its cofounders that the company acknowledged may have violated securities laws. The online auction opened Friday after Google filed an amended regulatory statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) containing updates and corrections to the interview with Playboy magazine on such matters as the number of its employees and the number of people who use its search engine each day. Such interviews usually are avoided by companies about to launch IPOs, to comply with rules against hyping their stock. An SEC spokesman wouldn't comment on the matter, although a knowledgeable source said he did not expect the commission to hold up the sale because of the Playboy interview. Google's auction requires preregistered would-be buyers to submit bids through designated brokerages. Then the company will announce the final share price - expected to be as high as $135. Google hopes to sell almost 26 million shares and to realize $3 billion.

EBay Inc., the world's largest online auctioneer, will acquire a 25 percent stake in craigslist, an online network of classified ads and forums, for an undisclosed sum, a spokesman said Friday. Craigslist posts more than 2.5 million classified ads and more than 100,000 new job listings each month. Both companies are "about building community and humanizing and democratizing the 'Net," the eBay spokesman said. EBay is based in San Jose, Calif.; craigslist in San Francisco.

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