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US consumer prices rose at the slowest pace in five months in November, the Labor Department reported. The consumer price index gained just 0.1 percent, as flat energy prices and a drop in tobacco costs helped keep inflation under control. The closely watched "core" component, stripping out food and energy, increased 0.2 percent.

A bidding war appeared likely for the one of the world's leading makers of snack foods, United Biscuits Plc. of West Drayton, England, after the company agreed to be bought by a US investor. Newly formed Burlington Biscuits, a consortium of Nabisco and Dallas-based buyout specialists Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, said it will pay $1.9 billion for the struggling company. But a rival group led by French and British buyout specialists said it was reserving the right to issue a higher offer.

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Ciba, the Swiss specialty chemicals giant, is selling its performance-polymers division to investment-management specialist Morgan Grenfell Private Equity for $1.2 billion, the companies announced in Basle, Switzerland. The polymers unit is a leading maker of epoxy resins for industry.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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