Business & Finance

As had been anticipated, China's CNOOC Ltd. dropped its $18.5 billion offer to buy American oil and gas producer Unocal, which some members of Congress had sought to block. CNOOC's decision would would appear to cement the takeover of Unocal by US rival Chevron.

This fall, DaimlerChrysler's US operations will be revamped so that at least three completely different models can be built by one assembly plant, The Wall Street Journal reported. It said the move is aimed at saving billions of dollars in operating costs over the next five years by enabling plants to run at close to capacity - a strategy long in effect in Japan by that nation's leading automakers. Typically, US automakers have produced no more than two types of vehicles in the same plant, the report said. The plan will be implemented first at Chrysler's money-losing Belvidere, Ill., plant, the Journal said, with Sterling Heights, Mich., next in line, and 12 others following later.

Kinder Morgan Inc., a leading operator of pipelines, said it will acquire Canadian rival Terasen Inc. for $5.6 billion in cash, stock, and assumption of debt. The latter was an attractive takeover target, a Kinder Morgan executive said, because its pipelines are well-positioned to accommodate the growing production of heavy crude from the oil sands of northern Alberta, which are shipped to refineries and tanker ports on the West Coast. Kinder Morgan's headquarters are in Houston. Terasen, which will continue to operate under its own name, is based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Public Storage Inc., the nation's largest operator of self-storage facilities, said it won't take "no" for an answer and intends to press its $2.39 billion bid to buy smaller rival Shurgard Storage Centers, according to published reports. In 2000, Shurgard rejected a similar takeover proposal. This time, Public Storage is hoping that Shurgard shareholders will lobby for a merger that would result in a company with a combined 2,000 locations. Public Storage, which boasts a higher occupancy rate for its facilities, is based in Glendale, Calif.; Shurgard in Seattle.

Public Service Enterprise Group, a power-generating company based in Newark, N.J., said it will cut 400 jobs in the state if, as expected, its merger with Exelon Corp. of Chicago wins regulatory approval next year. Exelon's pending $12 billion acquisition will make it the largest electric utility in the US, with more than 7 million customers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New Jersey, plus more than 2 million gas customers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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