Time Warner Inc. made a $4.5 billion to $4.6 billion offer for film industry giant Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that strengthens its position as the lending contender for the studio and its coveted library of more than 4,000 titles, The Wall Street Journal reported. It said Time Warner hopes the cash offer will be more attractive than a complex bid by Sony Corp. Sony reportedly is prepared to pay $4.7 billion, but its offer has become bogged down over how to structure the deal with partners Texas Pacific Group and Providence Equity Partners. MGM's board could choose between the bids as early as next week, the Journal said.
Enron Corp. will sell one of its most prized assets, its 9,700-mile network of natural gas pipelines, to CCE Holdings LLC for $2.45 billion in cash, including the assumption of debt, the scandal-tarred company said Wednesday. Stephen Cooper, Enron's interim chief executive, called the sale of its CrossCountry Energy subsidiary "a tremendous outcome for Enron's creditors" in one of the most expensive and complex bankruptcies in history. Enron collapsed in late 2001 when manipulative accounting practices were revealed. CCE Holdings is a joint venture of Southern Union, a natural gas business based in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and GE Commercial Finance Energy Financial Services, a unit of General Electric.
Deeply troubled oil industry giant Yukos took another hit from authorities as a Moscow court granted the Russian government's claim to $2.6 billion in its bank accounts and those of its affiliates. The ruling was issued after Yukos missed a deadline earlier this week to pay in full a bill for $3.4 billion in back taxes for 2000. The company said the ruling means it won't be able to pay its employees and that production of oil is at imminent risk of stopping.
The maker of Lee and Wrangler jeans announced the closure of two plants in west Texas by year's end and payroll reductions at two others. VF Jeanswear said more than 1,000 jobs would be relocated across the border to Mexico so the company can "stay competitive with product costs." The moves will leave it with one US plant, in Fabens, Texas, near El Paso. VF Jeanswear is based in Greensboro, N.C.