Business & Finance

The value of shares in reeling oil industry giant Yukos was plunging on the Moscow stock exchange as the Monitor went to press after the Russian government presented the company and its largest subsidiary with two new bills for back taxes totaling just under $10 billion. The demands, on top of notices for unpaid taxes previously served, push Yukos's liability to more than $17 billion.

In its "best and final" offer, Oracle Corp. bid $9.2 billion for software rival PeopleSoft Inc. Monday, reports said. PeopleSoft claims that previous offers in the 17-month hostile takeover battle have undervalued the company. The new all-cash offer represents a 14 percent increase from the previous high of $21 a share. Oracle set Nov. 19 as the deadline for acceptance.

Valero LP said it will pay $2.8 billion for Kaneb Services and Kaneb Pipe Line Partners, creating a 10,000-mile network of oil and refined-products pipelines, the company announced Monday. Valero, which already owns pipelines, terminals, and storage facilities in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, and California, now will have 101 terminal facilities in 30 states. Valero is based in San Antonio, Kaneb in Richardson, Texas.

Delta Air Lines won a $500 million financing package from GE Commercial Finance Monday, another boost to its efforts to stave off bankruptcy. The deal includes a $300 million line of credit and $200 million in loans, which is to be repaid in 12 monthly installments, starting two years after it gets the money. The announcement came as members of the carrier's 7,000-member pilots' union began voting on a proposed contract that would cut salaries by almost one-third and save the company $1 billion, an amount it insists is necessary for survival. The voting ends Nov. 11.

America Online, the world's largest Internet service, is on the verge of cutting 700 jobs, The Washington Post reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The cuts are expected to occur next month as the online unit of media giant Time Warner Inc. struggles to stem a loss of customers to faster or cheaper Internet services. AOL has lost 3.3 million subscribers since peaking at 26.7 million in 2002. The Post said most of the layoffs are anticipated at the company's headquarters in Dulles, Va..

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