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AT&T completed its spinoff of Liberty Media Corp., allowing the TV programming unit to operate as an independent company. Liberty's holdings include interests in hundreds of channels, cable and satellite systems, and other enterprises worldwide, among them the Discovery Channel, AOL Time Warner, Starz Encore Group, and the Home Shopping Network. Englewood, Colo.-based Liberty was acquired as part of AT&T's purchase of Tele-Communications Inc. in early 1999.

Ford Motor Co. said it will merge the North American operations of three British brands - Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin - into one group to better compete with luxury-vehicle competitors, the Financial Times reported. The new unit will oversee such areas as sales and marketing, customer service, and franchise development, and will be based in Irvine, Calif. It will remain part of the Ford Premier Automotive Group, which oversees all of the automaker's luxury models.

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