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The $2.26 billion sale of Burger King to a team of US investors appeared at risk of falling through because the buyers have asked to renegotiate the purchase price. A consortium that includes venture capital specialist Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital of Boston (owner of Domino's Pizza), and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners agreed in July to buy the world's No. 2 fast-food chain from alcoholic beverage giant Diageo PLC of London. But the sale is contingent on Burger King meeting "certain performance targets," and Diageo conceded last week that the chain's sales slowed over the third quarter. Ten other prospective buyers were interested in Burger King when it was on the auction block, but a Diageo spokeswoman said the snag has not yet led to reopening discussions with any of them.

As many as 12,000 employees will be laid off by Royal & Sun Alliance Group, Britain's second-largest property and casualty insurance company, senior executives announced. The job cuts are part of an overall restructuring plan that also involves the spinoff of most of the carrier's Asian and Pacific region operations next year and the sale of other units that have not met performance targets or shown a competitive advantage. Royal & Sun also said it expected to have to set aside $225 million in the year's final quarter to cover the settlement of asbestos-victim claims.

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Citing last-minute "additional obstacles," bankrupt National Airlines ceased operations Wednesday after 3-1/2 years of ferrying passengers to and from Las Vegas, the US's gambling capital. The carrier said it was unable to develop a reorganization plan after being denied a guaranteed loan from the congressionally mandated Air Transportation Stabilization Board. But in September, it won a tentative OK from federal bankruptcy court for a $112 million financing package, and a follow-up hearing had been scheduled for next week.


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