Business in Brief

Mercury Buys Auctioneer

Mercury Group, which owns the TsUM department store in Moscow, has bought control of Phillips de Pury & Company, the New York and London-based auction house said Monday.

Phillips's founder and chairman, Simon de Pury, retains his position and stake in the company as part of what was called "a strategic partnership." (Bloomberg)

X5 Fights Price Increases

X5 Retail Group, the country's largest food retailer, said Monday that it would delay payments to suppliers who request price increases.

Payments will be held up by 20 days on average, X5 said. "We understand the industry is in a difficult position because of the financial crisis and that raising prices may seem to some as the only way out, but we feel it is our duty to halt price increases by using economic tools, even in such a situation," CEO Lev Khasis said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

OGK-3 Profits Rise 85%

OGK-3, controlled by Norilsk Nickel, said Monday that first-half profit rose 85 percent.

Net income for the six months ended June 30, advanced to 3.23 billion rubles ($123 million) from 1.75 billion rubles per year earlier, the generator said. Revenue gained 22 percent to 18.4 billion rubles. (Bloomberg)

Alstom in Transmash Talks

PARIS -- Alstom, the world's largest train maker, said Monday that it was in talks to buy a stake in rail-equipment manufacturer Transmashholding and will jointly bid for a contract for double-deck railway cars.

Alstom said it signed a memorandum of understanding that includes the possible purchase of 25 percent plus one share in Transmashholding. No financial details were given. (Bloomberg)

Digital Sky to Buy Seznam

Digital Sky Technologies, part-owned by billionaire Alisher Usmanov, is set to acquire 100 percent of Seznam, the Czech Republic's largest search engine and portal, the Czech Telegraphic Agency reported Monday.

Seznam has a 62 percent share of the Czech search market, compared with 29 percent for Google. DST Advisors, which manages Usmanov's investment funds, declined to comment Monday. Usmanov controls about 30 percent of DST, while Renaissance Capital controls 5 percent. Seznam officials could not be reached for comment. (MT)

Novolipetsk's Loan Terms

LONDON -- Novolipetsk Steel has increased the margin on its $2 billion, 364-day unsecured bridge loan by 45 basis points to 145 to 320 basis points over the London interbank offered rate as a result of the credit crisis, banking sources close to the financing said Monday.

The deal was launched to syndication in August but market turmoil has forced the bookrunners and underwriters -- Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and Societe Generale -- to raise the margin from 100 to 275 basis points over LIBOR. (Reuters)

For the Record

The inflation rate was unchanged at 15 percent in September as vegetable and fuel prices decreased and meat prices rose, the State Statistics Service said Monday. (Bloomberg)

Mobile phone retailer Svyaznoi Group plans to buy smaller rival Tsifrograd before selling a 15 percent stake to VTB Capital, Kommersant reported Monday. (Bloomberg)