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In Brief: For Art’s Sake … Wal-Mart’s Float … Letter Writing

<B>FOR ART’S SAKE:</B> François Pinault has received the official OK for construction of his vaunted foundation of contemporary art. The French tycoon, who controls the Pinault-Printemps-Redoute retail and luxury conglomerate, on Monday...

FOR ART’S SAKE: François Pinault has received the official OK for construction of his vaunted foundation of contemporary art. The French tycoon, who controls the Pinault-Printemps-Redoute retail and luxury conglomerate, on Monday said officials of Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris, had delivered a construction permit for his Tadao Ando-designed museum, slated for completion in 2007. To be located on an island in the Seine River, the foundation will have some 160,000 square feet of exhibition space. Meanwhile, Pinault said Philippe Vergne, conservator of visual arts at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, would become the foundation’s director, starting next year.

WAL-MART’S FLOAT: Wal-Mart is offering $1 billion in senior, unsecured and unsubordinated notes at a floating rate, the retailer said Monday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The notes, maturing in March 2006, will pay interest on a quarterly basis, and the underwriter, Citigroup Global Markets, has agreed to purchase the notes at 100 percent of its face value. The proceeds from the sale will be used for general corporate purposes, including reducing the discounter’s short-term commercial paper debt. The new offering — set for Sept. 16, with the first interest payment scheduled for Dec. 16 — is part of an earlier shelf registration filed with the SEC. In addition, Wal-Mart said it is applying to offer a new series of notes to be traded just on the Irish Stock Exchange. The offering will have a face value of $6 million in U.S. dollars and will be euro-denominated notes.

LETTER WRITING: The fever continued to rage Monday over whether the U.S. should keep import quotas on Chinese apparel and textiles in the U.S. after Jan. 1, when global quotas on the products are lifted. Four associations representing importers wrote Grant Aldonas, undersecretary for international trade at the Commerce Department, that a decision on whether to keep the limits should wait until after Jan. 1, when the effects of no quotas on the U.S. market can be weighed. Otherwise, a decision to continue limiting Chinese imports “would be based on assumptions and conjecture, rather than facts.” U.S. mills are poised to file a series of requests for continued quotas, alleging Chinese imports are causing massive domestic market disruptions.