Business and City in Brief

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Ziff-Davis titles sold for dollars 1.4bn Ziff-Davis Publishing, the US's largest publisher of computer magazines, including the industry leader, PC Magazine, is being sold to the investment firm Forstmann Little for dollars 1.4bn ( pounds 858m) in cash. The publishing business is part of Ziff Communications, a family-owned media empire that was put up for sale in June by the sons of Bill Ziff, who oversaw the company's greatest expansion. Eric Hippeau will remain chairman and chief executive.

The transaction excludes the parent company's trade show, electronic information and a proposed new on-line business that are being auctioned separately.

Airlines can sue Foreign carriers refused slots on the Orly-Toulouse and Orly-Marseille routes have the right to appeal and take the French government to court in France, a European Commission spokeswoman said. She said France should have opened the routes to non-French carriers from yesterday. The European Court of Justice has refused to uphold a French government request to delay opening up the routes to competition.

Pulled up Ladbroke has failed in an attempt to put an end to the betting monopoly in France. The bookmaker wanted the European Commission to order France to stop giving exclusive rights to the Pari Mutuel monopoly for off- course betting in France.

BAT bid blocked BAT Industries' dollars 1bn bid for American Tobacco Company, producer of Lucky Strike cigarettes, was blocked by the US Federal Trade Commission. BAT agreed not to complete the acquisition until the matter is resolved by a federal court.

Life holdings Sun Alliance and Woolwich Building Society have agreed to adjust their respective shareholdings in Woolwich Life, which they established as a joint venture in 1990. Sun Alliance's shareholding is reduced from 49 to 10 per cent.

BFI surge Browning-Ferris Industries, the US waste management group involved in a hostile 109p-a-share takeover bid for its British rival Attwoods, has announced a 41 per cent increase in full-year, after- tax profits to dollars 278.7m ( pounds 171m). In the year to end- September net revenues rose 24 per cent to dollars 4.3bn.

Oil gushes North Sea oil output in September reached its highest level of production since April 1988 as several fields affected by maintenance shutdowns during August returned to full production, the Royal Bank of Scotland said.

IDV venture International Distillers & Vintners, the drinks sector of Grand Metropolitan, said it had further expanded its business in central Europe with the establishment of its own importing and distributing company in Slovakia.

Wind-up move The Securities and Investments Board said it had presented a winding-up petition under section 72 of the Financial Services Act 1986 to PFI Consultants. John Norris, an official receiver, had been appointed as provisional liquidator.

Pulled up Ladbroke has failed in an attempt to put an end to the betting monopoly in France. The bookmaker, which wants to open up betting systems in France and Germany, wanted the European Commission to order the French government to stop giving exclusive rights to the Pari Mutuel monopoly for off-course betting in France.

World Markets New York: The market found relief from lower long-term bond interest rates.

The Dow Jones Average ended 26.92 points higher at 3,875.15.

Tokyo: Strong earnings figures helped the Nikkei average to 19,796.36, a gain of 50.01.

Hong Kong: Improved investor sentiment lifted the Hang Seng 52.14 points to 9,304.58.

Sydney: Mining stocks led the market higher, with the All Ordinaries up 14.6 at 2,032.2.

Bombay: Selling pressure from foreign investors pulled the index down 28.7 to 4,328.74.

Frankfurt: Prices drifted lower after the Bundesbank left key interest rates unchanged. The DAX lost 7.25 to 2,013.25.

Paris: Shares closed near the day's highs with the CAC-40 index 26.57 better at 1,858.11.

Zurich: Futures-related selling took the SPI to a year's low of 1,630.54, down 12.62 points.

Istanbul: State-owned shares destined for privatisation were strong as the index climbed 240.36 points to 25,149.86.

London: Report, page 34.

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