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Whirlpool Corp., the appliance industry giant, joined the bidding for struggling rival Maytag Corp., offering $1.37 billion in cash and stock. Maytag has tentatively accepted a $1.13 billion offer from Triton Acquisition Holding Co., a spinoff of the private equity investor Ripplewood Holdings. But late last month it also attracted a $1.28 billion bid from Chinese appliance manufacturer Haier, with backing from Bain Capital and the Blackstone Group. The Whirlpool offer, however, was described by a Maytag spokesman as a good value for shareholders and beneficial to both consumers and trade customers.

Ending a year of takeover speculation, communications service provider Versatel of the Netherlands agreed to be acquired by Tele2 AB for $1.6 billion. On completion of the sale, Tele2 will sell Versatel's operations in Germany to the private equity firm Apax Partners of New York, reports said. Tele2 is based in Stockholm.

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The world-famous Raffles Hotel and 40 others in its ownership group will be acquired by Colony Capital LLC of Los Angeles for $1 billion in cash and assumption of debt, the buyer announced. The 117-year-old Raffles, a national monument in Singapore, is considered the cornerstone of the city-state's tourism industry. It has been the setting for numerous novels, feature films, and at least one play and has welcomed chiefs of state, literary greats, and such entertainment industry icons as Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, and Michael Jackson as guests. Colony Capital also owns hotels and casinos in Hawaii, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, the Caribbean, and Europe.

Airbus will add 1,000 new jobs to its payroll by year's end, due to growing demand for its A320 jets and the ramping up of production of the superjumbo A380, the German edition of the Financial Times reported.

A proposal to salvage what's left of the collapsed Rover car company for about $105 million was expected to be offered Monday by China's Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., The Times (London) reported. The prospective bidder was in negotiations to buy Rover but pulled out last spring when it became clear that bankruptcy was imminent. A smaller Chinese car builder, Nanjing Auto, has bid $87.5 million for Rover with the intention of making models of its own design at the company's Birmingham, England, plant should the offer be accepted, The Scotsman reported. Rover ceased operations April 15, costing 5,000 employees their jobs.


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