Enron agreed to sell its North American natural gas pipeline business, its most attractive remaining asset, to a company run by Texas billionaire Oscar S. Wyatt Jr. for $1.8 billion. NuCoastal LLC also would assume $430 million in debt from the 2,600-mile Transwestern Pipeline in the deal, which is subject to approval by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur J. Gonzalez. It marks Wyatt's return to interstate gas pipelines following El Paso Corp.'s January 2001 acquisition of Coastal Corp., which he founded and chaired.

Mitsubishi Calls Plan "Last Chance"

Mitsubishi Motors announced what its chief executive called a "last chance" revival plan that includes cutting 11,000 jobs -- more than 22 percent of the company's global workforce. The Japanese automaker will get a $4 billion infusion from its parent and other investors and will close an engine plant in Australia and a car plant in Okazaki, Japan. Analysts say the company faces a tough fight amid plunging sales and growing consumer doubts about product quality.


SBC Communications and the union representing striking workers returned to the bargaining table to try to work out their differences, less than a day into a four-day strike over benefits and outsourcing of jobs. The jobs of telephone operators, clerical workers, linemen and service representatives were being filled by 40,000 SBC managers and retirees.

Cendant's former vice chairman, E. Kirk Shelton, asked a company accountant to help him be "creative in recognizing $165 million of merger-related items of revenue," Michael P. Monaco, the company's former chief financial officer, testified at the fraud trial of Shelton and former chairman Walter Forbes. Forbes and Shelton are accused of ordering employees at Cendant predecessor CUC International to make up numbers so CUC would meet analysts' expectations and keep the stock price up.

Personal bankruptcies rose 2.8 percent -- a more moderate increase than in earlier months -- in the 12 months ending March 31, an upward trend that has continued despite signs of recovery in the economy.

Walt Disney Co. board members met with leaders of six large state pension funds, who called the meeting "fruitful" but stressed that the board would have to demonstrate its independence and commitment to improving the company's performance. Chief executive Michael D. Eisner did not attend.

Cisco Systems said the theft and publication on a Russian Web site of some of its proprietary software blueprints do not create an increased security risk. The Internet network equipment manufacturer also said that the pilfered code has been removed from the site.

UAL, parent of bankrupt United Airlines, reached agreement with its mechanics union over reductions in retiree medical benefits that the company says it needs to emerge from bankruptcy, an airline lawyer told a bankruptcy judge.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal agency that insures traditional pensions operated by private employers, said liabilities of its single-employer insurance program exceeded assets by $9.7 billion as of March 31, 2004, the midpoint of the agency's fiscal year. The program's deficit last September stood at $11.2 billion. The PBGC's single-employer program insures the pensions of 34.5 million Americans in 29,500 plans.

Google added 29 securities firms to help underwriters Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston run the auction it will use to conduct its initial stock offering. The list includes major Wall Street and regional brokerage houses as well as online brokerages E-Trade and Ameritrade.


Alcoa said its automotive business plans to cut 2,350 jobs in Mexico next month. The move will result in the loss of 1,300 jobs in Torreon, Mexico, and 1,050 jobs in Piedras Negras.


Carlyle Group, the District-based private equity firm, agreed to acquire Verizon Communications' phone line business in Hawaii for $1.65 billion.

Pepco Holdings said that its president and chief executive, Dennis Wraase, would assume the additional title of chairman, succeeding John Derrick, who is retiring.

Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.