Originally created 11/15/02

Business briefs



HSBC Holdings to purchase Household International

CHICAGO - HSBC Holdings PLC announced a $14.2 billion deal Thursday to buy Household International Inc., which owns the Beneficial and Household Finance brands and is the largest independent consumer finance company in United States.

London-based HSBC, known best for banking in emerging markets in Asia, would greatly expand its North American presence and its consumer lending business with the acquisition. Household makes personal loans for houses, cars and other uses.

Former Adelphia exec pleads guilty

NEW YORK - Members of the Rigas family conspired to lie to the public and plunder the cable TV system owner Adelphia Communications Corp., a former executive said Thursday as he pleaded guilty to securities fraud.

As part of his guilty plea in Manhattan federal court, James Brown, the former vice president of finance at Adelphia, has promised to testify against the family members about the scandal which cost investors billions of dollars.

Adelphia filed for bankruptcy protection on June 25.

Krispy Kreme to open stores in UK

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. plans to begin selling its signature treats in the United Kingdom under a franchise arrangement.

The Winston-Salem-based company said Thursday it will team up with both Chesire and Kent Ltd. and Donald Henshall to form Krispy Kreme UK Ltd. in a franchise deal to open 25 British stores during the next five years. Krispy Kreme will hold a 34 percent stake in the partnership. The company announced in June to expand into Australia by early 2003 and then shortly into New Zealand.

Price war pushes down PC prices

SAN FRANCISCO - A holiday price war among personal computer makers has pushed prices down by hundreds of dollars on machines robust enough to handle the latest PC games, video and software.

Analysts say the price-slashing is happening because PC sellers projected sales numbers earlier in the year that have yet to come through, so they need to ratchet up sales before year's end.

"Certainly, in recent weeks we're seeing very highly competitive pricing in the market," said Charles Smulders, an analyst with Gartner Dataquest.