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FleetBoston Financial Corp. agreed to acquire the asset management businesses of Liberty Financial Companies for $900 million in cash, plus the assumption of $110 million in debt. If approved by shareholders and regulators, the deal would make FleetBoston the world's 29th largest investment manager. The purchase adds $51 billion in investment assets under management to FleetBoston's existing investment business, bringing its total to about $173 billion. Both partners are based in Boston.

In layoff news:

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* Furniture Brands International said it will cut almost 1,000 jobs in Virginia and merge two subsidiaries. The St. Louis-based company will consolidate operations of Action Industries, an upholstered-furniture manufacturer, and the Lane Co., which focuses on wood furniture.

* Entrust Inc., a struggling Internet-security spinoff, plans to cut 400 jobs and close some offices. The Plano, Texas, company had been part of Canadian telecommunications giant Nortel Networks until 1997. Last year, Entrust lost $82.3 million.

* Job cuts, while "not the main objective" of a $312 million cost-cutting program at Swissair Group, are "inevitable," the financially troubled company said. The program is due to begin July 1. The company, previously known as SAirGroup, lost $1.7 billion last year. Its global workforce numbers almost 70,000 people.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor


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