News In Brief
The tentative purchase of deeply indebted Daewoo Motor Co. by a General Motors-Fiat consortium was thrown into confusion when creditors of South Korea's No. 2 automaker ran out of patience and cut its financial lifeline. The move followed rejection by the company's union of a restructuring plan that called for the layoffs of 3,500 workers. Daewoo is expected to file for receivership after failing to meet tens of millions of dollars worth of loan repayments due this week.
Pets.com joined Furniture.com in becoming the latest online retailers to announce they're ceasing operations. The former, based in San Francisco, said it would lay off all but 65 of its employees and sell most of its assets, among them its Sock Puppet icon that became a popular feature in TV commercials. A company announcement cited disappointing sales, the plummeting price of its shares, stiff competition, and a failure to secure long-term financial backing. Framingham, Mass.-based Furniture.com cited most of the same reasons for its immediate closure.
Vodafone, the world leader in mobile communications, said it would pay $2.54 billion for a 25 percent stake in the mobile phone division of Swisscom. The terms call for the unit to become a spinoff company before the deal is completed next March.
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