Business & Finance

Linens 'n Things, the struggling retail housewares chain, agreed to be acquired by a group of private investors led by Apollo Management LP for $1.3 billion. But the deal is subject to conditions. To receive debt financing from Bear Stearns & Co. and UBS Securities, Linens ' n Things must achieve earnings of at least $140 million for the full fiscal year before interest, depreciation, and amortization are subtracted, reports said Wednesday. Analysts said that could be a tall order, given a 94 percent plunge in the company's third-quarter results. Linens 'n Things faces stiff competition from rival Bed Bath & Beyond, the industry leader. In addition, retail giants Wal-Mart and Target have increased their inventories of curtains, comforters, cutlery, cookware, and other home-goods items. Linens ' n Things is based in Clifton, N.J., and operates 516 stores across the US and Canada.

A week after announcing tens of thousands of layoffs, Germany's Deutsche Telekom posted a $2.8 billion profit for the third quarter and said it will invest half that amount next year in the launch of new products and to shore up its fading fixed-line business. Chief executive Kai Uwe Ricke told investors the moves are necessary because, "Our markets ... are about to undergo such fundamental change that they will be barely recognizable afterwards." He also warned of the likelihood of more job cuts, but offered no details.

Bankrupt Asarco LLC, the nation's No. 2 producer of copper, and the union representing employees at its Arizona and Texas facilities agreed to a new contract, ending a strike that began July 2. Asarco is a subsidiary of Grupo México, one of the world's largest mining companies.

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