ROCKFORD, Ill.

Two state TV stations sold

Benedek Broadcasting Corp., based in Rockford, plans to buy eight television stations, including two in Wisconsin, from Brissette Broadcasting Corp. of Boca Raton, Fla., for $270 million in cash and stock.

The stations are WMTV of Madison; WSAW-TV of Wausau; WWLP of Springfield, Mass.; WILX-TV of Lansing, Mich.; WHOI of Peoria, Ill.; WTRF-TV of Wheeling, W. Va.; KAUZ-TV, of Wichita Falls, Texas; and KOSA-TV, of Odessa, Texas.

The deal will give Benedek a total of 22 network-affiliated stations.

BOSTON

Fleet adds to bank holdings

Less than a month after concluding a $3.45 billion merger that cemented its position as New England's largest bank, Fleet Financial Group scooped up the U.S. operations of Britain's National Westminister Bank for $3.26 billion.

Tuesday's deal marks Fleet's first foray into New Jersey's lucrative banking market and strengthens its position in several commuter areas around metropolitan New York. It comes on the heels of Fleet's acquisition of Boston-based Shawmut National Corp., which closed in November.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.

Polaroid to cut 1,300 jobs

Instant camera pioneer Polaroid Inc. announced it will eliminate 1,300 jobs in a restructuring designed to cut costs and refocus some of its operations.

The company said Tuesday that the effort, which will reduce its work force by 10 percent, will result in a $155 million pre-tax charge against its fourth-quarter earnings and a $40 million charge in 1996.

TRENTON, N.J.

Warner-Lambert adds to drug line

Warner-Lambert Co. accelerated its drive to become the world's top over-the-counter drug seller with an agreement to pay Glaxo Wellcome $1.05 billion for its interest in their nonprescription drug venture.

The companies also announced Tuesday a new partnership to market future over-the-counter drugs. Agreements between the partners will create a new company, Warner-Lambert Consumer Healthcare, to sell the products as they are approved.

SEATTLE

Boeing to boost production

Boeing Co. will boost jetliner production for the first time in about half a decade to fill more orders and catch up with the backlog from a 10-week strike.

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Boeing, the world's largest commercial jet maker, said Tuesday it will increase its monthly production rate next year for the first time since 1991. Even a cutback in production of Boeing's slowest-selling plane, the 757, is being postponed for three months.

TOKYO

Japan to bail out housing lenders

The government set off a storm of criticism by announcing a nearly $7 billion taxpayer bailout of housing lenders drowning in bad loans.

Commentators almost universally denounced the plan Tuesday, and a worried Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama called a midnight press conference to say he was "truly sorry" to ask for public money.

CHICAGO

Gas maker raises takeover bid

Industrial gas maker Praxair Inc. boosted its hostile bid for rival CBI Industries Inc. by $45 million and gave the company until Thursday to accept the higher price.

Analysts said Tuesday's conditional offer, which values CBI at about $2.2 billion, is aimed at pushing any other suitors to make their bids or back down.

from The Associated Press

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