SAMSUNG finally concluded the deal to sell its redundant North-East factory yesterday in a move that could redevelop the 207-acre site as a world-class business park.

The Korean group entered negotiations for the sale of its site at Wynyard, near Billingham, ahead of the factory closure announcement last month.

But news that it had closed a deal provoked an outcry from Sir John Hall, the multi-millionaire who attracted the Koreans to Teesside.

Sir John said he wanted the opportunity to buy the land and redevelop it as part of his Wynyard business park plans that could create 20,000 jobs.

But last night it appeared Sir John had failed in his 11th-hour bid with the announcement that the original deal was going ahead.

North-East businessman Chris Musgrave has bought the site for an undisclosed sum. He hopes to attract companies from around the country and is hopeful a tenant will be lined up before the Samsung factory closes in April with the loss of 425 jobs.

Meanwhile, talks were continuing last night in an effort to save dozens of threatened jobs.

Union leaders were in negotiations with managers at Country Style Foods, in Stockton, where 400 people are employed.

The frozen food factory at Preston Farm industrial estate was bought by the Leeds-based company last month after former owner Hibernia Food went into administration.

The Northern Echo understands that the number of jobs now under threat is well below the 100 mark.

Alan Milne, regional organiser of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, said: "Unfortunately, we are unable to say too much at the moment other than to say that the rumour about the 150 is absolutely not true."

A spokesman for Country Style Foods confirmed that more information would be made available today.