Thursday, October 9, 2003

Business digest



From wire reports

Vivendi deal vaults NBC to media's top tier

NEW YORK - After months of negotiations, NBC is getting its prize: Membership in the Big Media Club.

NBC, a unit of General Electric Co., sealed a deal to merge with the entertainment businesses of Vivendi Universal, the companies announced Wednesday, creating a media conglomerate in the same class as giants like Viacom Inc. and Walt Disney Co.

The new company, to be called NBC Universal, will have a leading broadcast network, the Universal movie and television studios, 14 local TV stations, an array of cable networks (including USA, CNBC and Bravo), and interests in five theme parks.

Simon ends hostile bid to acquire Taubman

DETROIT - Simon Property Group Inc. on Wednesday withdrew its hostile $1.7 billion takeover bid for rival shopping mall developer Taubman Centers Inc.

The announcement by Indianapolis-based Simon and partner Westfield America Inc. came a day after Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed legislation to help Bloomfield Hills-based Taubman Centers fend off the bid.

Simon had announced last week that it was extending its $20 per share cash offer until Oct. 31.

But Taubman family members and friends opposed the offer from Simon.

Musicland to close 150 stores and lay off 900

MINNETONKA, Minn. - Musicland Group Inc. will close 150 of its Sam Goody and Suncoast Motion Picture Co. stores by the end of the year, the company said.

The closings cover 13 percent of the retailer's 1,119 stores. The firm declined to specify which locations.

The company will lay off 900 employees, including a "handful" of staff at its Minnetonka headquarters, a spokeswoman said.



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