Business & Finance

Intel, the world's largest maker of chips, will split into five new divisions based on how customers use its products, incoming president Paul Otellini announced Monday. The new units will focus on mobile computing, corporate computing, healthcare, "the digital home," and smaller computer manufacturers in emerging markets, and each will have authority to allocate resources as it sees fit. Last year, when the divisions were organized around specific products, Intel missed a series of shipping deadlines and ended up canceling development of a new chip for advanced TV sets.

Liberty Media International and UnitedGlobalCom Inc. said they'll fuse operations in a $3.65 billion "merger of equals" that will produce one of the largest owner/operators of broadband systems outside the US. Liberty is based in Englewood, Colo., UnitedGlobalCom, which sells video, voice, and broadband services in Europe, is based in Denver. Both will become wholly-owned subsidiaries of the merged company, to be named Liberty Global Inc.

MeadWestvaco Corp. agreed to sell its paper business for $2.3 billion to Cerberus Capital Management, a private buyout group based in New York. The deal involves mills in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Maine, and Kentucky and 900,000 acres of forest land. MeadWestvaco, which wants to focus on its packaging products, will keep 1.2 million acres in forest holdings.

Royal Dutch/Shell said it will hire more than 1,000 engineers to search for new oil and gas reserves in the wake of last year's scandal that forced a write-down in both areas. The company said it wants the first 170 new hires on the job by April as it strives to catch up with such competitors as ExxonMobil and BP. Reserves are considered an oil company's most valuable asset, and Shell cut its estimates four times in 2004 - by an aggregate of 23 percent - and warned in October that a fifth rewrite may be necessary.

Continental Airlines said it has finalized plans to save $99 million a year in wage and benefits cuts affecting ticket, gate, ramp, operations, and cargo agents. It is the last of the nation's major carriers to seek such givebacks but now says it needs $500 million overall in concessions from employees by the end of next month to avoid a potential liquidity crisis due to rising fuel costs. Earlier, Continental saved $70 million by reducing nonunion pay and benefits. Negotiations with pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics are continuing, the company said.

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