Business & Finance

As expected, SBC Communications Inc. announced it has acquired AT&T for $16 billion, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. The deal, which SBC called a merger of "two strong, complementary companies," combines 120-year-old AT&T, which monopolized the telephone business until 1984, with one of the "Baby Bells" that grew out of the former's government-mandated breakup.

MetLife Inc. agreed to buy Travelers Life & Annuity Co. from financial services giant Citigroup for $11.5 billion in cash and stock. The deal makes the buyer the No. 1 underwriter of life insurance policies in North America in terms of sales. Citigroup also sold its Travelers Property & Casualty unit last year.

A wide-open competition was expected among Boeing, Airbus, and other builders of passengers jets after Malaysian Airline System announced it plans to buy 78 new planes to expand its fleet. An order that size would cost upward of $3 billion, based on catalog prices, analysts said. The carrier set Feb. 15 as the deadline for the submission of proposals and a spokesman said the decision on which planes to order probably will be made by June.

Halliburton Co., a world leader in providing infrastructure services to the oil and natural gas industries, announced that its Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) engineering and construction subsidiary is for sale. KBR is estimated by analysts to be worth about $2.5 billion. But it also is deeply involved in the support of US forces in Iraq, where it has been at the center of controversy for allegedly overcharging the Defense Department for such services as food, fuel, housing, and laundry. KBR is based in Houston.

Maguire Properties Inc., an owner/operator of office buildings based in Los Angeles, announced it is buying a real estate portfolio, mostly in southern California, for $1.51 billion from CommonWealth Partners LLC.

Newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises Inc. has acquired Pulitzer Inc., a storied name in the industry, for $1.46 billion, the companies announced Sunday. Pulitzer's holdings include the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Arizona Daily Star, and a dozen other dailies. Lee, which becomes the nation's fourth-largest newspaper chain, is based in Davenport, Iowa.

Photography giant Eastman Kodak Co. agreed to acquire Creo Inc., a maker of products for the digital printing and graphic arts industries, for just under $1 billion in cash. Creo is based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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