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Briefs

AT&T invests in online video deal

AT&T and an investment firm run by former News Corp. executive Peter Chernin have formed an online video venture that could rival Netflix and Hulu.

AT&T Inc. and Chernin Group said last week that they have committed more than $500 million in funding toward the venture. They are not saying how much each company is investing.

The move comes amid rapid growth in online video services. AT&T, a telecoms giant, already offers TV content through its U-Verse service, which competes with more traditional cable TV providers. With online video, though, it could attract customers of Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other services – including people who’ve stopped paying for traditional broadcast, cable or satellite TV.

The companies said the venture will invest in advertising and subscription-based video-on-demand services, as well as online streaming.

Textron eliminating jobs at Cessna, Beechcraft

Just over a month after buying Beechcraft for $1.4 billion, Textron announced 750 job cuts at that company and at its Cessna division.

The layoffs will occur over the next 60 days. Both aircraft-makers are based in Wichita, Kan., and Textron says about 575 of the affected jobs are in Kansas.

Textron Inc. of Providence, R.I., expects about $4.6 billion in annual revenue from the combination of Cessna and Beechcraft.

Beechcraft filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012 because of the sluggish business jet market during the economic downturn. Cessna laid off workers in 2013, although it didn’t say how many jobs were eliminated.

China manufacturing shrinks for 4th month

Factory activity in China shrank for the fourth straight month in April, though the decline was slightly slower, a survey on Wednesday said, in a possible sign the slowdown in the world’s No. 2 economy is stabilizing.

The preliminary version of HSBC’s purchasing managers’ index edged up 48.3 from March’s 48.0 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate expansion.

The report said output and new orders decreased at a slower rate. However, new orders for customers in export markets overseas shrank.

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