Business & Finance

In deals worth $4.3 billion, US Airways agreed to buy at least 170 small jets from Canada's Bombardier Aerospace and Embraer of Brazil, with an option for 380 more. The carrier emerged from bankruptcy March 31, and the 50- to 75-seat aircraft are central to its reorganization strategy of beefing up regional, short-haul routes.

Philip Morris USA asked the Illinois Supreme Court to hear its appeal of a $10.1 billion class-action judgment Monday, bypassing an appellate court review. The tobacco giant, a unit of Altria Group, said that's where the case would ultimately end up, so it's better "to have this matter resolved without delay." In late March, Judge Nicholas Byron ordered Philip Morris to pay $7.1 billion to smokers and $3 billion to the state over allegedly misleading ads for "light" cigarettes.

Media giant Bertelsmann will be paid $1.2 billion for its academic and trade-magazine publishing unit by a partnership of private equity buyout specialists, reports said. Proceeds from the sale to Cinven Group Ltd. and Candover Investments PLC, both of London, are expected to be used to lower the seller's debt. Meanwhile, the company declined to comment on a lawsuit filed by rival Universal Media Group seeking at least $150,000 each for the "millions upon millions" of times that online users downloaded copyrighted songs via Napster, the free file-swapping service in which Bertelsmann invested heavily before it was shut down by a federal court two years ago.

The Hartford Financial Services Group announced to its assembled employees that it is leaving the property-casualty reinsurance business and will cut or leave unfilled 1,500 jobs. It also said it will divert $1.7 billion in earnings to its reserve fund for asbestos-related claims.

In other layoff announcements:

• Nippon Telegraph & Telephone, Japan's largest communications company, said it will cut 3,900 more jobs. Last year, NTT laid off 16,100 workers in a broad-based drive to return to profitability.

• The Hyatt Corp. announced it will close its 505-room Regency Cerromar Beach Resort & Casino in Dorado, Puerto Rico, affecting 800 workers. The hotel chain said some of those employees may be offered jobs at its nearby Dorado Beach facility.

• Up to 800 more jobs will be cut by MAN, the third-largest builder of heavy trucks in Europe. MAN, which is based in Munich, Germany, also said it will reduce spending on research and development. Since 2001, the company has laid off more than 7,000 workers.

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