Business & Finance

A solution to the bitter dispute between the US and the European Union over subsidies to aviation giants Boeing and Airbus will be sought through bilateral negotiations, the Associated Press reported. It said the two sides agreed not to challenge each other before the World Trade Organization, a move that was threatened last October and would have required lawsuits to be filed by Thursday. Citing an EU source, the news agency said the parties will attempt through three months of bilateral talks to "eliminate different types of subsidies and to establish fair-market-based competition" between the world's largest builders of airplanes. New government aid, at least for development and production of nonmilitary aircraft, will be suspended for the duration of the talks, the AP report said.

Billionaire Rupert Murdoch moved to tighten the reins of his media empire Monday, announcing that News Corp. will pay $5.9 billion for the 18 percent of Fox Entertainment Corp. it does not already own. But the price in the long-anticipated deal might have to go higher to gain approval of minority stockholders, The New York Times reported. Fox Entertainment owns the film studio Twentieth Century Fox, satellite broadcaster DirecTV, and Fox Broadcasting.

Regulators were taking a close look at the $1.8 billion takeover of troubled South Korean defense contractor Daewoo Heavy Industries by the nation's only builder of power-generating systems. The acquisition by Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. would lift it from 12th to ninth largest in the country in terms of gross sales. But the Fair Trade Commission first must satisfy itself that the acquisition doesn't violate a law that forbids companies above a certain size from investing more than 25 percent of their assets in other enterprises.

WestPoint Stevens Inc., a leading maker of bed linens and bath towels, announced the layoffs of 2,465 employees as it closes more plants in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana. The company linked the move directly to the Jan. 1 lifting of textile quotas "from low-wage countries." The 200-year-old firm also shut three plants last year, among them one in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., that was the South's first unionized textile mill.

Nokia, the world's largest maker of cellphones, said it will cut "a few hundred" research and development jobs later this year and will discontinue "noncore" products. The layoffs mainly will affect employees in Finland and Germany, a spokesman said.

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