Times Staff and Wire Reports

Hanson Agrees to Buy Utility: The British-American conglomerate agreed to buy Britain's biggest regional electric company for $4 billion, the third takeover bid in as many weeks in the British utility industry. If it goes through, the all-cash offer for Eastern Group will be London-based Hanson's first major acquisition since its $2.3-billion takeover of Quantum Chemical of the United States in 1993. The bid, agreed to by the boards of both companies, raises the stakes for would-be acquisitors scrambling to buy British power companies. Britain's 12 regional electric companies were sold off by the government in late 1990.

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