Business & Finance

TD Banknorth Inc., the fast-growing US division of Canada's Toronto-Dominion Bank, said it will pay $1.9 billion for Hudson United Bancorp. Hudson United, which is based in Mahwah, N.J., has 207 branches in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut. TD Bank-north, with headquarters in Portland, Maine, already owns 400 branch banks in the Northeast.

Colgate-Palmolive agreed to sell its North American laundry detergent business to Phoenix Brands LLC, a consumer products company based in Stamford, Conn. Terms of the sale were not announced. Colgate-Palmolive makes such brands as Ajax, Fab, Dynamo, Cold Power, and Fresh Start.

Financial services giant HBOS gave the go-ahead to its investment division to buy $2.5 billion worth of commercial properties in Europe. The Financial Times identified such possibilities as warehouses, suburban retail outlets, and office complexes in noncapital cities. It said the probable target countries would be Spain, France, Belgium, and perhaps Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy. HBOS is based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

FedEx, the world's leading express transportation company, said it will close its Asian hub in the Philippines and replace it with a new facility in Guangzhou, China. The switch will allow FedEx to better serve the China-to-US air freight market, which is expected to grow at a 9.6 percent annual rate over the next 20 years.

At least 300 employees - and perhaps as many as 600 - will lose their jobs at Commerzbank AG, Germany's third-largest, the financial journal Handelsblatt reported. But half of the layoffs, in the sales and marketing areas, could be avoided if there is an 8 percent upturn in revenue over the next two years, Handelsblatt said, citing senior company officials.

Another 250 layoffs were announced by Acxiom Corp., which gathers and sells consumer data used in marketing efforts, banking, and government security work. The Little Rock, Ark., company, which has been at the center of recurring takeover rumors, also said it may sell or close additional operations overseas, where business has been disappointing. Acxiom cut 230 jobs last year.

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