Business & Finance

Reports were circulating over the weekend that Sun Microsystems chief Scott McNealy is considering taking the computer company private with the help of private equity firm Silver Lake Partners. Neither company's spokesman would comment for the record, although The San Jose, Calif., Mercury News said it had learned of an e-mail message sent by McNealy that called the idea "a totally unsubstantiated rumor." Meanwhile, however, industry analysts and investors indicated that they liked its potential. Sun Microsystems, which makes UNIX-based servers, as well as workstation computers and storage systems, is based in Santa Clara, Calif.

Amid reports that American tycoon Malcolm Glazer will bid $1.5 billion later this week for control of pro soccer powerhouse Manchester United, a shareholders group has launched an attempt to block him, the Financial Times said Friday. It said a group calling itself Shareholders United is offering to buy out some of the team's largest investors to keep it from falling into Glazer's hands. The British team is perhaps the world's most famous sports franchise.

Radio station giant Clear Channel Communications will spin off its problem-ridden concert division and sell 10 percent of its outdoor advertising unit via an initial public offering, it announced Friday. Clear Channel Entertainment, which arranges concerts around the world for pop artists such as Britney Spears, had revenues of $2.75 billion last year, one of the weakest in recent history for the industry, undercutting a strategy in which it and the radio operation would feed off each other. Moreover, it is the target of an investigation by the US Justice Department. Clear Channel Communications is based in San Antonio and operates 1,200 stations across the US.

Solectron Corp., a leading contract electronics manufacturer, said it will cut 3,500 jobs next year as it continues to struggle with declining demand. Major high-tech companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Cisco Systems hire Solectron to build systems and subsystems for their products. Solectron is based in Milpitas, Calif. Most of the layoffs will occur outside the US.

Tweeter Home Entertainment Inc., which sells audio and video equipment, said it will close 19 underperforming stores and cut 200 jobs. The Canton, Mass., company has 158 retail outlets nationwide.

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