Business & Finance

Damage claims resulting from hurricane Dennis will amount to between $3 billion and $5 billion, the world's largest reinsurance company estimated Monday. Munich Re said it alone expects to pay out roughly $120 million in claims because of the storm, but that it was too soon to tell how its earnings might be affected. Reinsurers sell insurance to insurance companies. Dennis, which came ashore Sunday in the Florida panhandle and Alabama's Gulf Coast, marked the earliest start of a hurricane season in 46 years.

In a deal valued at $6.3 billion in cash and stock, the Dutch media group VNU said it will acquire IMS Health Inc. of Fairfield, Conn. IMS collects statistics on the distribution of prescription drugs and sells them to pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesalers, which use the data to measure their market share and the effectiveness of their advertising and promotional campaigns.

Unocal, the oil company at the center of an international bidding war, was expected to announce the sale of its Northrock Resources Ltd. subsidiary in western Canada, to Pogo Producing Co. of Houston, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. It said the transaction would be worth $1.8 billion in cash. Unocal announced in May - after agreeing to merge with Chevron but before receiving an $18.5 billion unsolicited takeover bid from China's National Offshore Oil Co. - that it intended to sell its assets in Canada.

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