Business & Finance

Adelphia Communications, the bankrupt cable-TV company, accepted a $17.6 billion takeover bid from Comcast and Time Warner. The cash and stock deal gives the buyers 5 million Adelphia subscribers in 31 states and Puerto Rico. Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, already has 23.3 million customers. Time Warner, No. 2, has 14.4 million. Their joint bid beat out a last-minute offer by Cablevision Systems of New York that was valued at $17.1 billion.

In a further contraction of the world's alcoholic beverage industry, Pernod Ricard said it will buy Allied Domecq PLC for $14.2 billion. The combined company will move into second place in size behind Diageo PLC of Britain. To satisfy European competition rules, Pernod will sell some of Allied Domecq's brands to distributor Fortune Brands Inc. of Lincolnshire, Ill., for $5.4 billion, reports said. Allied Domecq, based in Bedminster Down, England, also owns the Dunkin' Donuts, Baskin-Robbins ice cream, and ToGo sandwich chains. Pernod Ricard is based in Paris.

The New York Stock Exchange surprised the securities industry by announcing plans to merge with Archipelago Holdings, Inc, an all-electronic rival. The deal will transform the 213-year-old, auction-based NYSE into a for-profit, publicly traded enterprise. By diversifying its trading system with electronic transactions, which appeal to institutional traders, the NYSE expects to challenge its chief rival, the Nasdaq, and become "the leading securities market ... in the world," chief executive John Thain said.

Negotiations on a merger that would have created the world's largest dairy cooperative collapsed late Wednesday over an apparent failure to agree on financial terms. The deal, had it been completed, would have joined Arla Foods of Aarhus, Denmark, with Campina UA of Zaltbommel, the Netherlands. The combined company would have had a payroll of 28,000 people, annual revenues of about $13 billion, and been owned by 21,000 farmers in a region stretching from Germany to Sweden.

In layoff news:

• JDS Uniphase, which makes fiber-optic communications networks, said it will close plants in Ewing, N.J., and Melbourne, Fla., that employ 850 people. Those operations will be shifted to Shenzhen, China.

• Citing a drop in orders, Guilford Mills, a maker of fabrics, announced that it will close a plant in Greensboro, N.C., and halve the workforce at its factory in Fuquay- Varina, N.C. The moves will result in the loss of 230 jobs.

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