Bank of America announced it is buying FleetBoston for $47 billion in stock. The largest US corporate takeover in more than a year will make Bank of America, based in Charlotte, N.C., the nation's second-largest financial services company, after Citigroup. While Bank of America will replace the Fleet name in New England, it agreed to maintain staff at current levels, The Boston Globe reported.
In other acquisition news:
• Anthem Inc. agreed to purchase Wellpoint Health Networks of Thousand Oaks, Calif., in a $15.2 billion deal that will create the nation's largest health insurer. Anthem is based in Indianapolis.
• In a deal valued at $9.1 billion in cash and assumption of debt, China Telecommunications Corp. will buy the land-line phone networks of six provinces, the Financial Times reported. The Hong Kong company said it wanted the networks in Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Sichuan, the Gunagxi autonomous region, and the city of Chongqing because each offers high growth potential. On average, they serve just 13.4 percent of their markets.
• UnitedHealth Group struck a $2.95 billion merger deal with Mid Atlantic Medical Services of Rockville, Md., Bloomberg.com reported. UnitedHealth is based in Minnetonka, Minn.
• Hoping for more favorable consideration of its $2.2 billion hostile takeover bid, auto parts supplier ArvinMeritor Inc. proposed to sell some of the assets of its target, Dana Corp., if regulators approve the merger. The bidder told the Federal Trade Commission it would put Dana's truck axle, brakes, and drivetrain units on the block to satisfy antitrust concerns. Approval of the deal would create the industry's third-largest supply chain, behind Delphi Corp. and Visteon Corp. ArvinMeritor is based in Troy, Mich.; Dana in Toledo, Ohio.
Soft drink, candy, and chewing gum giant Cadbury Schweppes PLC announced a cost-cutting campaign that will result in 5,500 layoffs and the closure of as many as 27 of its factories around the world. The company said it expected the effort would result in $678 million in savings a year between now and 2007. It markets products under its own names, plus Dr. Pepper, 7 Up, Snapple, Mott, Dentyne, Trident, Chiclets, Clorets, and Certs. Cadbury Schweppes is based in London.