Business & Finance

AT&T said as many as 3 million investors could benefit from its decision to pay $100 million to settle a lawsuit brought by shareholders, The Wall Street Journal reported. The plaintiffs had sought $2.4 billion for alleged efforts by former chief Michael Armstrong and other senior executives to paint a falsely optimistic picture of the company's finances to win completion of two deals. AT&T and Comcast Corp., which bought AT&T's cable unit, will split the settlement costs.

Whipsawed by rising fuel costs and fare wars with rivals, ATA Airlines became the latest US carrier to file for bankruptcy, joining United and US Airways. ATA also announced it is selling some of its assets - among them gate leases in New York, Chicago, and Washington - to AirTran Holdings Inc. for $87.6 million. But it will keep its most profitable asset, the Ambassadair Travel Club. ATA plans to honor tickets already sold and to maintain a full schedule of flights, chief executive George Mikelsons said.

JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse First Boston outbid two rival partnerships for Warner Chilcott PLC, the Northern Ireland drug manufacturer best known for its birth- control pills and female hormone treatments. The deal was valued at $3 billion, reported. Both buyers already have sizable investments in the pharmaceutical industry, and analysts suggested that they may resell Warner Chilcott.

Electronic Data Systems, the world's second-largest technology provider, said it is offering a voluntary early retirement package to about 9,200 employees. Half of those eligible are expected to elect it, the company said. EDS also rolled out a job-retraining program. The initiatives are part of a plan to cut costs over the next two years by cutting up to 20,000 jobs and attempting to ensure that those who remain are better equipped for new industry demands. EDS is based in Plano, Texas.

KB Toys Inc. said it will close as many as 238 more mall-based stores. The Pittsfield, Mass., company, which sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, already has closed 427 of the 1,231 stores with which it began the year. The closures will not hinder holiday operations, it said.

Specialty chemicals giant Ciba said it will eliminate 950 jobs, a move attributed to its $575 million acquisition in March of Raisio Chemicals of Finland. The Financial Times said the Basel, Switzerland, company expects the downsizing to result in a saving of $74.9 million a year.

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