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General Motors Sells Majority Stake in Suzuki Motors

General Motors will sell 17-percent of its stake in Japan's Suzuki Motors and Britain's Vodafone is in final talks with Japan's Softbank to sell its Japanese division.

Japan's Suzuki Motor Corporation bought back a 17-percent stake from General Motors.

General Motors, the world's largest automaker, sold the stake as part of a restructuring plan and will receive about $2 billion from the sale.

The two companies said they will continue their close 25-year relationship and work together to create environmentally friendly cars.

Suzuki's chief executive officer, Osamu Suzuki, talked about General Motors' problems at a recent press conference. "We understand that G.M. needs to raise capital, but I really did not know G.M. was in trouble to this extent," said Suzuki. "They are in very deep trouble."

General Motors lost $8.6 billion last year and saw its market share fall.

British company Vodafone is ready to sell its Japanese subsidiary to Japan's largest Internet provider, Softbank. The two companies are in the final stages of their talks.

Vodafone, which is Britain's leading mobile phone operator, has been losing its customers in Japan during the past year because of the strong competition from Japan's top mobile phone operators.

In Japan, Vodafone is the third-biggest mobile phone carrier with about 15-million subscribers. I f the deal is completed, Softbank will become one of the biggest competitors in the market.

From October to December, Japan's corporate spending increased by 9.5 percent from the previous year - the 11th straight quarterly rise.

Government officials say manufacturers spent more money on factories and equipment, to drive the increase.

For example, steel manufactures and automakers invested more than 52-percent. Real estate company investments were up by about 48-percent.

Japan's Sony Corporation regained its first place in the world television sales from October to December of last year.

It was the first time in three quarters. Sony took a 13-percent share during this quarter, followed by South Korea's Samsung Electronics Company and the Netherlands' N.V. Phillips Company.