Business & Finance

A leading US designer of microprocessor cores, Artisan Components Inc., agreed to be acquired by a British rival for just under $1 billion in cash and stock. The buyer: ARM Holdings PLC of Cambridge, England. Both companies specialize in supplying Texas Instruments, Apple Computer, Japan's Toshiba Corp, and other clients with high-density, low-power "system-on-chip" designs for such end uses as cellphones, digital music players, personal computers, and automotive electronics. Artisan is based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

A Wal-Mart subsidiary moved ahead of venerable retailer Marks & Spencer as Britain's biggest seller of clothing over the last three months, according to published figures. A spokeswoman for the subsidiary, Asda, confirmed, "We are No. 1." But she declined to say whether the company's share of the clothing and footwear market had grown to 9.4 percent, as reported by market researchers, while Marks & Spencer's remained static at 9.1 percent. Marks & Spencer recently deflected a $16.8 billion takeover bid by investor Philip Green. Asda's George clothing line is sold in 240 of its 266 British supermarkets, as well as in Wal-Mart stores in the US, Germany, South Korea, Mexico, and Japan.

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