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Wed, May 18, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Insurance
Samsung Life receives offer

A leading specialist US buyout fund has offered to buy a 17.6 percent stake in Samsung Life Insurance, South Korea's leading insurer, reports said yesterday. The offer came from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the world's largest buyout firm, Yonhap news agency said, citing an official at state debt guarantor, Seoul Guarantee Insurance. Creditors plan to sell their holdings, valued at 800 billion won (US$794 million), in Samsung Life this year. The stake in Samsung Life, the largest shareholder of microchip giant Samsung Electronics, is held by creditors as collateral for the debt of Samsung Motors. French carmaker Renault SA took over the car-making unit of South Korea's largest conglomerate Samsung Group in 2000.

■ Telecoms

TCL unit to buy out Alcatel

Chinese television and mobile phone maker TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd will buy back a 45 percent stake in a handset joint venture from France's Alcatel SA, parent company TCL Corp said yesterday. The deal, which represents a setback in TCL's ambitions to expand internationally, comes amid rising losses in the handset business due to intensifying competition from both domestic and international manufacturers. TCL Communication, whose shares are traded in Hong Kong, will issue new shares to buy out Alcatel's stake through a share swap valued at 63.34 million Hong Kong dollars (US$8.1 million), the company said in a statement. After the swap, Alcatel will hold a 4.76 percent share in the enlarged capital of TCL Communication.

■ Web security

Virus sends neo-Nazi spam

A computer virus spewed neo-Nazi-tinged spam in English and German into inboxes over the weekend. The virus, first spotted on Thursday, sends out a blast of e-mail to addresses found on infected PCs. Most of these messages contain links to news stories with content that "smells of right-wing political rhetoric," said Vincent Gullotto, vice president of McAfee Inc's antivirus emergency response team. But a small percentage contain links to a Web site that tries to infect visiting machines with the virus, he said. Among the many messages was one with the German subject line "60 Years of Freedom: Who's Celebrating?" referencing the end of World War II. One in English carried the subject: "Dresden Bombing Is To Be Regretted Enormously," referring to the Allied attack on the German city during World War II.

■ Publishing

Hollinger names new CEO

Hollinger Inc, the embattled Canadian holding company formerly led by Conrad Black, has announced the appointment of Paul Carroll as president and chief executive officer. Hollinger also said on Monday that Robert Metcalfe, who like Carroll has been an independent director of the company, will take the position of executive vice-president and chief operating officer. Gordon Walker remains non-executive chairman of the company, whose main asset is an interest in US newspaper publishing company Hollinger International Inc, which owns the Chicago Sun-Times. Carroll joined the Hollinger board last August. A lawyer by training, he was president and CEO of Carnarvon Capital Corp, a Toronto investment management and venture capital company.

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