Business & Finance
Struggling electronics giant Motorola announced a deep new round of job cuts, adding another 9,400 employees to those already given layoff notices this year. Executives of the Schaumburg, Ill.-based semiconductor and cellphone maker also said they expect two more money-losing quarters after the current one before anticipating a return to profitability. Since employment peaked at about 150,000 workers in August of last year, 48,400 have been laid off or have shifted to other companies as Motorola sold off some of its assets.
In an about-face, the board of Willamette Industries agreed to at least negotiate with forest products rival Weyerhaeuser on the latter's $6 billion buyout offer. But a Willamette statement indicated the Portland, Ore.-based company also would consider other "value-enhancing alternatives" and would continue to pursue the purchase of the building-materials division of yet another competitor, Georgia-Pacific. Weyerhaeuser said it was "ready to meet immediately" to discuss a takeover that Willamette has resisted bitterly for more than a year. Some industry analysts, however, dismissed the new move by Willamette as a stalling tactic, or, as one put it, "a polite way of saying 'no.'"
Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise-ship operator, was given six weeks to sweeten its takeover bid for British-owned P&O Princess Cruises. A P&O statement said the company would delay until Feb. 14 a vote by shareholders on its intended "merger of equals" with another rival, Royal Caribbean, to see whether Carnival can "put forward a ... more valuable transaction" than the $4.7 billion that was rejected last weekend. But the statement said P&O still expected to recommend the Royal Caribbean tieup to its investors.
An across-the-board cut of 1,000 jobs was announced by Thomas & Betts, a leading maker of electronics components with facilities in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Asia. The company is based in Memphis, Tenn.