* News Corp. said Mitchell Stern would become president and chief executive of DirecTV after it buys a controlling stake in the satellite television company, as reported Thursday in the Los Angeles Times. Roxanne Austin, DirecTV's president and chief operating officer since June 2001, will leave once the sale is complete.

* Mattel Inc. increased its annual dividend from 5 cents to 40 cents and will buy back as much as $250 million in stock to return excess cash to shareholders.

* Home Depot Inc. plans to combine its Northwest and Western divisions to cut costs. The expanded Western division, based in Orange County, will oversee 335 stores.

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