Business & Finance

Warburg Pincus LLC, a leading private equity firm, was expected to announce the formation Monday of an $8 billion fund, its largest to date, to invest in corporate buyouts - especially in central and eastern Europe. The Wall Street Journal reported that private equity firms accounted for about $1 in every $5 spent on mergers and acquisitions globally in the quarter ending in June. Warburg Pincus is based in New York.

In a major restructuring, Agilent Technologies Inc. said it is selling its semiconductor business and a minority stake in its lighting subsidiary and is laying off 1,330 employees, It also planned to announce Monday that it will spin off its chip-testing business and will buy back $4 billion worth of its own stock. Agilent, itself a spinoff of Hewlett-Packard five years ago, will be paid $2.7 billion for the semiconductor unit by buyout specialists Silver Lake Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Forty-seven percent of its lighting business, Lumileds of San Jose, Calif., will be sold to Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands for $950 million. Agilent's headquarters are in Palo Alto, Calif.

Mining and metals giant Xstrata PLC agreed to pay $1.7 billion to become the largest minority shareholder in Canada's Falconbridge Ltd. The latter, a leading producer of nickel that also has significant copper, aluminum, and zinc reserves, is owned by Brascan Corp., the Toronto investment company whose assets include real estate, utilities, and natural resources. Xstrata is based in Zug, Switzerland.

Telephone and Internet provider Energis PLC rejected a $1.45 billion buyout offer from smaller rival Thus PLC, announcing that it remains committed to its takeover agreement with Cable & Wireless, Britain's No. 2 communications company. The size of the Cable & Wireless offer has not been publicized, but industry analysts estimate it at $1.5 billion. Energis is based in London; Thus in Glasgow, Scotland.

More than 5,000 employees were locked out by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. after it and their union failed to agree on terms of a new contract. Negotiations with the Canadian Media Guild broke off Sunday night, with the Toronto Globe and Mail reporting that the two sides are far apart on the CBC's plan to increase hiring on the basis of short-term contracts. The government-owned system is 90 percent unionized, a level believed to be far higher than that among private broadcasters.

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