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Bain Capital modifies offer to buy 3Com

Bain Capital Partners on Tuesday disclosed it has offered the U.S. government several concessions to get national security approval for a proposed $2.2 billion buyout of 3Com Corp.

“We have put on the table robust mitigation proposals that offer significant structural and security safeguards to American national security interests,” Bain Capital, a private equity firm, said in a statement to the Associated Press.

According to a source familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly about the deal, one of the proposals under discussion among the companies and the government is the divestment of Tipping Point, a unit of 3Com that makes network security software.

The proposed acquisition in September of 3Com, a network equipment maker, set off alarm bells in Washington. Lawmakers and the Bush administration expressed concerns that sensitive military technology could be transferred to China via a 16.5 percent stake held by Huawei, a Shenzen-based telecommunications company with ties to the Chinese government.

Fitness equipment maker Nautilus Inc. said Tuesday that it will close a call center in Canada and move those operations to its Vancouver, Wash., headquarters.

The consolidation of its direct sales call centers serving North America will reduce administration, systems and training costs, according to the company. The move is expected to take place during the second quarter.

The move will cut 40 jobs at the Winnipeg site and add several new positions in Vancouver, the company said.

Shares of Nautilus rose 40 cents, or 9.1 percent, to $4.81 Tuesday.

Levi Strauss & Co. shook off a sales slowdown in the United States late last year to boost its profit for the ninth straight quarter and cap the jeans maker’s best year in more than a decade.

The San Francisco-based company said Tuesday that it earned $267 million during its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Nov. 25, more than double the $96 million profit for the same time in 2006.

Most of Levi’s fourth-quarter earnings gain stemmed from changes in the company’s tax accounting, driven by its improving performance and revisions made after discussions with the Internal Revenue Service.

Levi would have made more money even without the tax benefits. The company recorded a fourth-quarter operating profit of $190 million, up 12 percent from $170 million in the comparable 2006 period.