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OfficeMax, the office-supply chain, is being acquired by Boise Cascade Corp. for $1.15 billion in cash and stock, the companies announced. Boise Cascade of Boise, Idaho, is a leading forest-products company but also has a growing distribution business through its Boise Office Solutions subsidiary. OfficeMax is based in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Continental Airlines plans to defer delivery on the bulk of a $2.5 billion order for Boeing jets until at least 2008, The Wall Street Journal reported. The deferral is the result of the prolonged industrywide slump and would affect 36 of the 56 Boeing 737s that Continental ordered, the paper said.

Lufthansa vigorously denied a published report that it's a bidder for troubled rival Swiss International Air Lines (Swiss) and refused to say whether the two carriers are discussing possible merger terms. A Zurich newspaper, SonntagsZeitung, said it had learned from unidentified sources that the board of Swiss would decide Aug. 8 on the German company's offer. Swiss, formed in March 2002 from the remaining assets of the collapsed Swissair, already has lost more than $700 million and has abandoned its goal of becoming profitabile this year, reports said.

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US Steel Corp. appears to have lost its competition with European rival LNM Holdings to buy majority control of Polskie Huty Stali, an operator of four mills in Poland that the government wants to privatize, reports said. But in choosing to negotiate exclusively with LNM, the Treasury Ministry asked US Steel to keep its offer on the table through Aug. 31, just in case, although the size was not specified. LNM, the world's second-largest steel producer, is registered in CuraƧao. Its corporate offices are in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

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