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reynolds metals turned down a takeover bid by Alcoa. Late last week, a Chicago-based investment firm, Michigan Avenue Partners, said it had made a superior all-cash offer for Reynolds, but declined to disclose details of its bid. Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of Canada-based Alcan Aluminum said his company wouldn't rule out making a bid for Reynolds, despite the recent announcement of Alcan's plans for a three-way merger with Alusuisse-Lonza Holding (Algroup) of Switzerland and Pechiney of France. Several analysts, predicting a bidding war, said Alcoa's offer was too low.

Dutch publisher VNU offered $2.5 billion for Nielsen Media Research, the US TV-ratings agency. Saying the deal could spell the end of its newspaper activities, VNU said it would be offering $37.75 a share in cash. The offer represents a 15 percent premium to the closing price of Nielsen's shares on Friday.

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Correction: An item in this space July 23 misstated a Korean government order to the country's five largest conglomerates. It should have said they were ordered to reduce their debt-to-equity ratios to 200 percent by the end of the year.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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