Business & Finance
For an estimated $3 billion, Zomba Music Group will be acquired by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal reported. Bertelsmann already owned 25 percent of Zomba's publishing business and 20 percent of its recording unit. Zomba's artists include such stars as Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, and controversial rhythm and blues singer R. Kelly. The deal is subject to approval by antitrust regulators, who blocked Bertelsmann's attempt to merge with rival EMI 13 months ago.
Univision Communications said it plans to acquire Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. in an all-stock deal valued at $3.5 billion. The companies are the US's largest Spanish-language multimedia group and radio network, respectively. Hispanic Broadcasting is based in Dallas; Univision in Los Angeles.
In an unusual alliance, Microsoft, Walt Disney Co., Intel, Motorola, Finland's Nokia, British wireless operator Vodafone and almost 200 other companies worldwide were to announce plans to work together on basic standards for cellphones and other wireless communication devices. The move comes amid disappointing sales in the industry.
Citigroup, the US's largest financial services company, launched a major shuffle of senior managers in response to heavy losses in the Argentine financial crisis. Among the duties changing hands: foreign operations; mergers and acquisitions; and credit cards, consumer finance, and branch banking. The Argentine crisis has cost Citigroup's emerging-markets unit $1.3 billion in pretax earnings.
Two more pillars of the Kirch media empire filed for protection from creditors, completing the German entertainment giant's collapse. TaurusHolding and KirchBeteiligungs followed KirchMedia and KirchPayTV into bankruptcy. Kirch's troubles, due to costly acquisitions that didn't pay off and the pay-TV experiment, which lost $2 million a day, plunged the empire $6 billion into debt.
Another 500 jobs will be cut by banking giant Credit Suisse as part of a sweeping reorganization, the company said. The Zurich, Switzerland-based institution announced last October it would lay off 2,000 employees in its investment banking division.