Business & Finance

Lockheed Martin Corp. sued Boeing and three former Boeing employees, accusing them of using stolen internal documents to win a $1.88 billion Air Force contract in a complaint filed Tuesday in Orlando, Fla. The documents allegedly were misappropriated by a Lockheed engineer who went to work for the rival aerospace and defense contractor. The Air Force and Justice Department are investigating. In full-page newspaper ads Monday, Boeing said the wrongdoing by "a handful of people" - all of whom have since left - does not reflect the company's ethics.

Sprint Corp. announced plans to shed 500 jobs by the end of the year as it abandons the Web-hosting business. The company also will close related operations centers in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, New York, Los Angeles, and Sacramento and Santa Clara, Calif.

Samsung, the electronics giant, plans to build a $16.7 billion assembly plant for flat-panel display screens, an announcement said. Samsung and a joint venture between the electronics division of South Korean rival LG Group and Philips Electronics of the Netherlands control 35 percent of the growing international flat-panel market. The screens are used in TV sets and computer monitors.

With a $3.55 billion bid, a group of buyout specialists won majority control of Telecom Italia's yellow-pages business, Seat PG. The price is a European record for private equity deals, reports said. The consortium, led by BC Partners Ltd. of London, is expected to buy the remaining 38.9 percent stake in Seat at a later date. Telecom Italia will use the proceeds to help pay down its $47 billion debt. Phone directory and yellow-pages business are lucrative because of their predictable cash flows and usually attract private equity buyers when they come on the market. Telecom Italia's sale was the seventh of its type since May 2001.

In a deal valued at $1.76 billion, Churchill Insurance Group, which specializes in writing policies for homeowners, travelers, and their vehicles, will be taken over by Royal Bank of Scotland, the latter announced. The addition to its portfolio makes Royal Bank the third-largest company in Britain offering nonlife coverage. Churchill has been owned by financial services giant Crédit Suisse.

Embraer, the world's fourth-largest builder of commercial aircraft, won a $3 billion, 100-plane order from the US regional budget airline Jet Blue, with an option for 100 more. The deal comes less than two months after Jet Blue ordered 65 planes from European aviation giant Airbus Industrie. Embraer is based in São Paulo, Brazil.

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