Business & Finance

The world's second-largest maker of semiconductors, Samsung Electronics of South Korea, will invest $33 billion in research and new production lines to meet growing demand, an announcement said. Spending will be spread over seven years, beginning in 2006. Among Samsung's bigger customers are Apple Computer and Sony Corp.

Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, the beleaguered founder and former chief executive of insurance industry giant American International Group (AIG), was countersued by the company over control of $20 billion worth of shares, The Wall Street Journal reported. It said the litigation seeks to pry the stock loose from Greenberg's private equity fund, Starr International of Bermuda, so it can be placed in trust for AIG. Greenberg resigned under pressure earlier this year and filed suit against AIG, claiming he's entitled to certain property the company kept after his departure.

E*Trade Financial Corp. said it will buy the online brokerage BrownCo for $1.6 billion, most of it in stock. The latter is a subsidiary of banking giant JPMorgan Chase and has a reported base of 200,000 customers. The pickup will be E*Trade's second in two months. Earlier, it agreed to take over rival Harrisdirect for $700 million.

In a deal valued at $1.2 billion, General Electric's healthcare division will buy IDX Systems Corp. of South Burlington, Vt., the companies announced. IDX is a supplier of software and integrated hardware used in such applications as patient records, imaging systems, and the managing of hospital radiology units.

DaimlerChrysler announced 8,500 layoffs - almost twice as many as had been forecast in published reports earlier this week. The automaker said Wednesday that the cuts all will come at its Mercedes division in Germany, with as many as possible involving attrition and early retirements.

Flyi Inc., the parent of budget carrier Independence Air, notified employees that 600 jobs will be cut this fall, most of them at its Dulles International Airport headquarters outside Washington. The airline also will reduce the number of daily flights from 350 to 230 and will eliminate such destinations as Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York's Kennedy International, and four West Coast cities. Some industry analysts suggest the company is near bankruptcy.

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