Other items: $960 million deal to settle class action; If Coors deal fails, Molson bid possible; Attendants' pact calls for 9.5% pay cut ...

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As part of the inauguration yesterday of its new research lab in Bangalore, India, Microsoft announced it has provided $250,000 for seven Indian university research projects.

The company also announced plans to begin a digital mapping project in cooperation with the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology and Ocean Development. Eventually it may provide satellite imagery and other geographic information to the public in an easily accessible format.

P. Anandan, managing director of Microsoft Research India, is recruiting computer scientists and others for the lab, which may eventually employ about 24, including a handful of employees such as Anandan, who is transferring from Redmond.


$960 million deal to settle class action

Health-services giant McKesson said yesterday it has agreed to repay shareholders $960 million to settle a class-action lawsuit related to an accounting scandal that has resulted in criminal convictions of several former executives.

The case consolidated several class-action lawsuits brought on behalf of McKesson’s shareholders burned by the financial shenanigans that occurred when the company bought software maker HBO in 1999.

The company said yesterday it would establish a $1.2 billion reserve for the payout and future claims stemming from 16 still-unresolved shareholder lawsuits.


If Coors deal fails, Molson bid possible

The brewing giant SABMiller indicated yesterday it is interested in making a bid for Molson should the Canadian brewer’s pending merger with Adolph Coors Co. fall apart.

The London-based brewer’s statement came a week before Molson and Coors shareholders are scheduled to vote on the planned combination of Canada’s biggest brewer and the third-biggest U.S. beer company.

Opponents of the Molson-Coors deal have grown more vocal as the scheduled vote has approached, and SABMiller’s interest could add to the pressure on the supporters of the deal.

SABMiller, which was founded in South Africa more than 100 years ago, brews Miller, Carling Black Label and Nastro Azzurro among other brands around the world.

United Airlines

Attendants’ pact calls for 9.5% pay cut

A tentative new labor contract between United Airlines and its flight attendants calls for a 9.5 percent cut in base pay and other concessions.

The agreement, which was made available to members of the Association of Flight Attendants this week, doesn’t include provisions related to the termination of pension benefits, an issue that remains central to the airline’s bankruptcy case in the coming weeks.

Helen McArdle, vice president of the union’s Master Executive Council, said a recommendation by union leadership to vote in favor of the new deal, which was first announced late last week, “should not be construed as an endorsement of current management or its punitive treatment of flight attendants.”

Voting will conclude Jan. 31.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff, The Associated Press and Dow Jones Newswires