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Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise ship operator, was refusing to take "no" for an answer after rival P&O Cruises rejected its revised $5 billion takeover offer. A senior P&O executive said the company had no intention of meeting with Carnival to discuss the new bid and would continue to recommend its own proposed merger with Royal Caribbean to shareholders. A Carnival spokesman would not say whether his company planned to increase its offer yet again, but suggested it would seek a postponement of the Feb. 14 meeting at which shareholders are to vote on the P&O/Royal Caribbean deal.

Wachovia Corp. said it will close 200 of its 2,700 branches as it completes last year's $14.9 billion merger with First Union Corp. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, which is the US's fourth-largest, filed documents with federal regulators identifying 65 branches it means to close between now and the end of next year. Of them, 37 are in Florida and 11 are in North Carolina.

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Newmont Mining Corp. of the US appeared all but certain to win control of Australia's biggest gold producer, Normandy Mining Ltd., after South African rival AngloGold pulled out of the bidding. The latter sold off $159 million worth of Normandy's shares and said it would use the proceeds instead to pay down debt. Denver-based Newmont, which has been locked in the takeover battle with AngloGold since last November, has bid $2.2 billion for Normandy.


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