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Northrop Grumman Corp. launched a hostile $2.1 billion stock-and-cash bid for Newport News Shipbuilding Inc. that matches an all-cash offer from General Dynamics. Newport News said its board would consider the new offer, despite its deal to merge with General Dynamics. In response, General Dynamics said it was "disappointed" at the "interference" in its agreed-upon merger. Newport News, based in Virginia, is the US's only builder of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. Northrop, based in Los Angeles, closed a $3.8 billion deal to buy shipbuilder Litton Industries five weeks ago. Northrop may think it has a better chance of winning regulatory approval for the deal, analysts said, after a proposed 1999 merger between General Dynamics and Newport News was scuttled by the Defense Department on grounds that it would stifle competition.

For the third time, Willamette Industries rejected a hostile takeover bid by forest products giant Weyerhaeuser Co. The latter sweetened its offer earlier this week to $5.5 billion, but Willamette's board of directors called the sum a "bargain basement price." Weyerhaeuser first offered $5.3 billion last November, later raising it to $5.4 billion.

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Exodus Communications, the Web hosting service, will cut 675 jobs, about 15 percent of its work force, a statement said. The layoffs follow last week's resignations of three senior executives in an overhaul of the Santa Clara, Calif., company.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor


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