FleetBoston Financial Corp. is negotiating to buy Summit Bancorp, The Wall Street Journal reported. The acquisition of Princeton, N.J.-based Summit, which has more than 500 branches in New Jersey and Connecticut, would aid Fleet's efforts to expand into the Northeast. But Summit, which has a market capitalization of $5.4 billion, may be discussing a sale to other potential buyers as well, the report said.
Corning Inc. said it will pay $3.6 billion for part of the fiber optics business of Italian tiremaker Pirelli SpA. The deal will help Corning, the world's leading maker of optical fibers and the cables that house them, keep pace with accelerating demand for equipment used to transmit data at high speeds, a statement said. Pirelli, reportedly committed to abandoning any industry in which it's not among the three-largest competitors, said it would focus on making tires.
America Online, the world's largest Web access provider, announced a strategic partnership with Japanese communications giant Nippon Telegraph & Telephone to strengthen their global interests. AOL said it would sell a 42.3 percent stake in its Japanese unit to the latter's DoCoMo division, which has agreed to invest $100 million in the venture. DoCoMo, already Japan's leading Internet service provider via cellphones, will join in creating a new Internet portal for wireless carriers. The companies also will market each other's products.
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