Business & Finance

Boeing's chief rival, Airbus, scored the first major order at Farnborough International Air Show in Britain: a $7 billion deal to sell 24 jets to Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi. It includes an option for the carrier to buy 12 more planes. Meanwhile, Boeing announced a $2.96 billion sale of four planes to Emirates Airline, with an option for nine more. Boeing was scheduled to offer a detailed presentation at Farnborough Tuesday on its new 217-seat 7E7 "Dreamliner" in the hope of converting the deposits paid by 24 airlines into firm orders.

Delta Air Lines reported the worst quarterly loss in its history - $1.97 billion - and refused to comment on suggestions by the union representing its pilots that a deal was near on pay concessions. The red ink for April, May, and June contrasts with a $180 million profit for the same period a year ago. Delta's overall loss for the past three years now tops $5 billion, reports said. The carrier has warned of possible bankruptcy unless its pilots accept deep cuts in pay.

Sony Corp. and media giant Bertelsmann won the OK of regulators in Europe for the merger of their music divisions, and were waiting for similar approval by the US Federal Trade Commission as the Monitor went to press. Their proposed Sony BMG would be the world's second-largest recorded-music company behind Universal Music Group and would feature artists as varied as Britney Spears, Beyoncé Knowles, and classical violinist Yo-Yo Ma.

Electronic Data Systems Corp. signed a $1.1 billion contract Monday with Bank of America to integrate the latter's communications system with newly acquired partner Fleet Boston Financial Corp. The deal comes on top of the $4.5 billion deal agreed to last year to handle Bank of America's voice-and-data-network needs. EDS now will connect more than 180,000 employees of the merged companies, 5,700 branches, and more than 16,500 automated teller machines.

Brewing giants Adolph Coors Co. and Molson Inc. said they're in "advanced discussions" on a "merger of equals" after marketing each other's beers for the past five years. Together, they total about $6 billion in sales annually. Coors, of Golden, Colo., is the No. 3 brewer in the US. Molson, Canada's largest brewery, is based in Montreal.

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