September 22, 2023

Advertising: Destination XL Caters to Plus-Size Men

But a new commercial from Destination XL, a men’s large-size retailer, takes the unusual approach of featuring chubby men. In the commercial, several men wander in various states of undress in a barren desert, where clothes hang sparingly on a few racks. A bearish naked man, his groin blurred by pixelization, models a pair of gloves triumphantly and says, “Finally, something in my size!”

Another actor wearing a tie but no shirt yells, “Hey, look at Tom, he found an entire outfit.” Tom, however, turns out to be squeezed into an unfortunate ensemble with contrasting plaids.

“Stop shopping in no man’s land,” says a voice-over. “There’s a better way for bigger men to find clothes. Destination XL — big on being better.”

The commercial, by Gotham in New York, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, will be introduced on Monday. It is directed by Tim Bullock with production, appropriately enough, by Hungry Man. Spending on the campaign, which also includes radio and online advertising, is estimated at $12 million.

The campaign was tested in five markets in the fall, but this is the first national campaign for Destination XL, whose parent company, Destination XL Group, also owns Casual Male XL. The company (which recently changed its name from Casual Male Retail Group) opened the first Destination XL in 2010, and is closing Casual Male XL stores as it opens Destination XL stores in the same markets. The last Casual Male XL is projected to close in 2015.

The new commercial is directed at what the company calls “end of the rack” shoppers with waists from 42 to 46 inches, the high (and sometimes scarce) end of the size range for most stores but the low end for retailers like Destination XL. About 65 percent of men large enough to shop at big-and-tall stores fall in that range, but at Casual Male XL stores, they are only 25 percent of customers, according to David Levin, the chief executive of Destination XL Group.

To appeal to bigger male shoppers, aisles at Destination XL stores are wider and dressing rooms bigger. The stores also aim to be more upscale, with hardwood floors, track lighting, free bottled water, on-site tailors, and televisions tuned to sports and financial programming.

Destination XL stores on average are more than 2.3 times larger than Casual Male XL stores, with more than 3.3 times the selection. Along with moderately priced store brands now available at Casual Male XL, Destination XL features more expensive designers like Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoste, Michael Kors and DKNY Jeans.

“We could have called it ‘Casual Male Superstore,’ but guys would say, ‘That’s where my father shopped,’ ” Mr. Levin said of Destination XL. “So we decided to knock them dead with a new name, without any baggage or preconceived notion of what the store was going to be.”

Gotham, the advertising agency, conducted consumer focus groups in several cities, and ethnographic studies in New York, observing big men who agreed to walk representatives through their closets and to visit mainstream retailers where they tried, sometimes futilely, to assemble complete outfits.

Reid Miller, a group creative director at Gotham, said that while women often discuss shopping experiences, “guys sit in silos and their bad shopping experience is a dirty little secret.”

The dystopian setting of the commercial, which ends with men attired in clothes from Destination XL, is meant to “show guys that you’re not alone in this bad experience,” Mr. Miller said. “We wanted to show them that there is this other band of guys, and to come to Destination XL, where you can join your brethren.”

The pixelized shot of an actor’s crotch has met resistance. ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox all declined to run the commercial, while five cable networks — including Syfy, USA Network and the NFL Network — chose to show it, the company said.

About a dozen cable networks — including Comedy Central, ESPN and the MLB Network — rejected the pixelized ad, but agreed to run a version where the actor wears briefs. (The four major networks were not offered that alternative when they rejected the pixelized version, but the company plans to try placing it with them in the fall.)

Mr. Levin noted that such blurring is common on shows like “The Office” on NBC.

“I’m watching prime-time television and seeing parts pixelated out every day,” he said. “I don’t understand why we’re being called out on this thing — if this were a hunk of a guy, would there be the same problem?”

Bruce Sturgell, 33, the founder of, a style blog for larger men, said men his size — at 5-foot-11, he fluctuates from 300 to 350 pounds — tend to settle for limited selection at mainstream stores because they are disappointed with the styles at large-size retailers.

“I go to the big-and-tall stores and I find Hawaiian shirts and Sopranos tracksuits,” Mr. Sturgell said.

He has not yet visited a Destination XL, but was impressed with the new commercial.

“They did a good job of channeling the frustration that a lot of big guys” have while shopping, Mr. Sturgell said.

As for casting, “showing guys that are a little more realistic” is laudable, he said. “I want to see what an article of clothing is going to look like on someone who looks like me.”

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Moody’s Downgrades Banque PSA Finance’s Ratings

Moody’s cut the standalone financial rating of the unit, Banque PSA Finance, by one notch to Ba1, below investment grade, from Baa3, and said the outlook was “stable.”

In October, the unit received a promise of €7 billion, or $9.2 billion, in credit guarantees from the French government, aid that is under review by the European competition authorities in Brussels. Without that support, which ensures the carmaker can provide buyers and dealers with the credit they need to purchase new cars, Peugeot would be unable to compete with its better-rated rivals, including Volkswagen, amid the worst slump in European auto sales in decades.

Standard Poor’s and Fitch Ratings already rate the Peugeot bank as junk, and investors were unmoved by the news Tuesday; the parent company’s shares edged up 0.43 percent by the close of trading in Paris.

The rating on €1.2 billion of debt backed by the government was unaffected by the downgrade Tuesday, Moody’s said.

Peugeot, the second-largest European automaker after VW, has more manufacturing capacity than it can profitably employ. It posted a 2012 annual loss of €5 billion, mainly after writing down the value of its automotive assets, while revenue slid 5.2 percent, to €58.4 billion.

The company’s sales in the 27-nation European Union fell 14.8 percent in the first two months of 2013 from a year earlier, outpacing the 9.5 percent in the overall market. That has left it burning cash and seeking to diversify outside of the region.

The cut on Tuesday became inevitable after Moody’s on Thursday downgraded the parent company by one step to B1 from Ba3, two notches below the finance unit. The agency pointed to “worse-than-anticipated financial performance,” as well as “negative free cash flow from industrial operations and ongoing challenges to restructure its automotive operations.”

The company has announced a plan to reduce its domestic work force by about 11,200 employees, or 17 percent of the total, in part by shuttering a plant at Aulnay-sous-Bois, near Paris.

So far, opposition from unions, including court challenges, has delayed its plans.

Cécile Damide, a spokeswoman for Peugeot, noted that the downgrade Tuesday had “automatically followed” the parent company’s ratings cut last week. The fact that Moody’s has a “stable” outlook on the rating shows the agency’s confidence that Peugeot’s restructuring will succeed, she added.

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Journalists’ Supporters Detained in China

People across China have been detained or questioned in recent days by security officers for publicly supporting the journalists at the Southern Weekend newspaper who have been protesting strict censorship, according to a human rights group and online posts discussing the plights of some detainees.

One Taiwanese actress who works on the mainland, Yi Neng Jing, said on her microblog Friday that security officers had asked her to “have tea,” a euphemism for undergoing some form of interrogation. Ms. Yi had supported Southern Weekend with microblog posts.

Chinese Human Rights Defenders said about two dozen people have been detained by security officers since Jan. 8; many were detained outside the Guangzhou headquarters of the parent company of Southern Weekend.

Police officers largely tolerated protests at the headquarters for three days, then began cracking down. On Friday, there was no sign of protesters outside the main gates.

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Fair Game: One Safety Net That Needs to Shrink

Granted, the economic pain many are feeling now — the snail’s pace recovery, the stubbornly high unemployment — is foremost in voters’ minds. But given all we’ve gone through after the last binge in the financial industry, failing to confront the too-big-to-fail question is a serious oversight.

Many Americans probably think the Dodd-Frank financial reform law will protect taxpayers from future bailouts. Wrong. In fact, Dodd-Frank actually widened the federal safety net for big institutions. Under that law, eight more giants were granted the right to tap the Federal Reserve for funding when the next crisis hits. At the same time, those eight may avoid Dodd-Frank measures that govern how we’re supposed to wind down institutions that get into trouble.

In other words, these lucky eight got the best of both worlds: access to the Fed’s money and no penalty for failure.

Which institutions hit this jackpot? Clearinghouses. These are large, powerful institutions that clear or settle options, bond and derivatives trades. They include the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Intercontinental Exchange and the Options Clearing Corporation. All were designated as systemically important financial market utilities under Title VIII of Dodd-Frank. People often refer to these institutions as utilities, but that’s not quite right. Many of these enterprises run lucrative businesses, have shareholders and reward their executives handsomely. Last year, the CME Group, the parent company of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, generated almost $3.3 billion in revenue. Its chief executive, Craig S. Donohue, received $3.9 million in compensation and held an additional $10 million worth of equity awards outstanding, according to the company’s proxy statement.

Make no mistake: these institutions are stretching the federal safety net. The Chicago Merc clears derivatives contracts with a notional value in the trillions of dollars. I.C.E. clears most of the credit default swaps in the United States — billions of dollars a day, on paper. No wonder they are considered major players in our financial system.

But placing them at the bailout trough is wrong, according to Sheila Bair, the former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. In a recently published book, Ms. Bair wrote that top officials at the Treasury and the Fed, over the objections of the F.D.I.C., pushed to gain access for the clearinghouses to Fed lending.

The clearinghouses “were drooling at the prospect of having access to loans from the Fed,” she wrote. “I thought it was a terrible precedent and still do. It was the first time in the history of the Fed that any entity besides an insured bank could borrow from the discount window.” .

“The Treasury’s and the Fed’s reasoning was that since another part of Dodd-Frank was trying to encourage more activity to move to clearinghouses, we should provide some liquidity support to them,” she said in an interview last week. “Our argument back was, if you have an event beyond their control with systemwide consequences, then you have the ability to lend on a generally available basis. What they wanted was the ability to lend to individual clearinghouses.”

The clearinghouses have considerable clout in Washington. From the beginning of 2010 through this year, the CME Group has spent $6 million lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Did these players push for special treatment while avoiding other aspects of Dodd-Frank? Representatives of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Options Clearing Corporation say no, noting that access to the Fed meant they would also be overseen by the central bank, in addition to the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

But the Fed’s involvement is not likely to be intrusive, because Dodd-Frank directed it to take a back seat to a financial utility’s primary regulator, either the S.E.C. or the C.F.T.C.

The CME said that it did not support Dodd-Frank’s designation of clearinghouses as systemically important, but once it received the designation, it believed the Fed should provide access to emergency lending. The O.C.C. echoed this point.

Whatever the case, the CME Group has argued that it should be exempt from the orderly liquidation authority set up under Dodd-Frank. This authority was designed to unwind complex and interconnected financial firms that could threaten the financial system if they failed. The law appointed the F.D.I.C. as receiver to resolve teetering entities. That authority is supposed to end the problem of institutions that are too big to be allowed to fail and also to hold their managers accountable.

BUT in a letter to the F.D.I.C. a few months after Dodd-Frank became law, the CME Group asked the F.D.I.C. to confirm that the exchange wouldn’t fall under that authority’s jurisdiction. It is not a financial company as defined by the law, the CME contended, and therefore should not be subject to the resolution process.

The F.D.I.C. has not confirmed the C.M.E.’s view on the matter. But it seems to be gaining traction among other regulators. At an Aug. 2012 presentation last August on resolving financial market utilities, Robert S. Steigerwald of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago noted that it was unclear whether a financial utility such as the Chicago Merc would have to be wound down as required under Dodd-Frank.

So these large and systemically important financial utilities that together trade and clear trillions of dollars in transactions appear to have won the daily double — access to federal money, without the accountability.

“Dodd-Frank should have been all about contracting the safety net,” Ms. Bair said last week.  “But this was a huge and unprecedented expansion of the safety net that provided expressed government support for for-profit entities. These financial market utilities are the new government-sponsored enterprises.”

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DealBook: Regulator Raises ‘Serious Concerns’ About Toronto Exchange Deal

The group seeking control of the Toronto Stock Exchange is dominated by large Canadian banks.Norm Betts/Bloomberg NewsThe group seeking control of the Toronto Stock Exchange is dominated by large Canadian banks.

Canada’s competition regulator has “serious concerns” about a plan by 13 financial institutions to purchase the Toronto Stock Exchange’s parent company for 3.8 billion Canadian dollars, the acquirers said on Wednesday.

There was widespread anticipation that the Maple Group’s proposal to buy the TMX Group would run into problems under Canada’s competition laws, which have been recently strengthened. The acquisition group is dominated by three of Canada’s five largest banks and includes several major pension funds and insurance companies. Smaller players in the financial community have been concerned that they will not have equal access to markets if the takeover of the TMX Group is approved.

The Maple Group said Melanie L. Aitken, the commissioner of competition, raised her concerns in a private meeting on Tuesday. While the group said she was still open to talks, her office has been studying the proposal for some time, suggesting that the outstanding problems might be difficult to resolve.

The setback comes almost a year after the TMX Group announced a merger with the London Stock Exchange, which was ultimately shelved in favor of the current deal. The Maple Group was formed in part to provide an alternative that would keep the Toronto Exchange in Canadian hands.

The statement from the Maple Group did not offer any specifics. But smaller financial industry players have raised two broad issues.

Some are concerned about access to the exchange under the Maple Group’s control. If its acquisition is successful, the Toronto Stock Exchange will be combined with the Alpha Group, an alternative trading system controlled by the large banks, and it will handle about 85 percent of Canadian equities trading.

Smaller members of the financial community are also worried that the Maple Group’s plan to also acquire Canadian Depository for Securities, the settlement and clearing service for the Toronto exchange, will push costs higher. At the moment, that service runs on a cost recovery basis. The Maple Group will not commit to keeping its fees as low as possible.

While approval from the Competition Bureau headed by Ms. Aitken is crucial to a successful deal, the transaction must also be approved by four provincial securities regulators. There has been some public opposition to the plan in Quebec.

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New Life, Surprisingly, for ABC Prime Time

After the first two weeks, when the ratings for “Dancing With the Stars” were down about 20 percent and one new entry, “Charlie’s Angels,” had quickly fizzled, a senior executive at a competing network said in an e-mail message, “The Paul Lee death watch has started.”

Not quite. As the season heads for its midpoint, ABC and Mr. Lee have managed to defy early expectations by devising an emerging success story in prime time with a handful of new shows demonstrating the kind of steady appeal that usually guarantees extended runs.

One show, the fairy-tale drama “Once Upon a Time,” probably could be considered the strongest new entry of the season because it has attracted hit ratings without the benefit of a strong lead-in show. Another drama, “Revenge,” is performing consistently and generating passionate talk online.

Two comedies, “Suburgatory” and “Last Man Standing,” have settled in with solid ratings. And one holdover comedy, “Happy Endings,” has rewarded Mr. Lee’s faith in it by improving 55 percent this season.

Over all, ABC has managed to stay just about even with its ratings for last season, which comes as a surprise to some, given the continued decline for several of the network’s longtime hits. Many of the pillars of ABC’s prime-time success were facing either retirement (“Desperate Housewives”) or a steady decline in ratings (“Grey’s Anatomy” and “Dancing With the Stars.”)

But now, Mr. Lee and other ABC executives are promoting several of their coming midseason entries as perhaps stronger than those introduced in the fall.

All of this comes from Mr. Lee, a programmer who stands out not only for his British accent, but also for his background in cable television — and his demeanor. Robert A. Iger, the chief executive of ABC’s parent company, Walt Disney, said, “The best thing about Paul is that he’s a grown-up.”

At 51, Mr. Lee indeed is grown up. And he may be the only top network programmer ever to graduate from Oxford with fluency in both Portuguese and Russian. That doesn’t precisely translate to being able to recognize which sitcom or reality show might find an audience of 18- to 49-year-old women, but Mr. Lee said it doesn’t hurt either.

“You have to bring some humility to it if you’re an outsider,” he said in a telephone interview. “If you’re lucky, you can use an incredibly talented team around you and your own approach and really make something different.”

Given the situation ABC faced at the end of last season, with “Desperate Housewives” ready to end after an eighth and final season, and the “Dancing” franchise starting to leak younger viewers (it remains hugely popular among older women), Mr. Lee faced considerable pressure as he introduced the first slate of shows he had personally developed and selected.

“But to some degree, pressure is liberating,” Mr. Lee said. “I came in thinking we absolutely had to take some big swings.”

He also thought “about what’s going to work well in tough times.” That led to comparisons “to the 1930s and the 1970s,” Mr. Lee said. “Comedy was so big then. Fairy tales were big then. Horror was big; the underdog was big.” He added, “And were we ambitious? Superambitious.”

He also conceded that luck played a significant role. While some of the bedrock hits of ABC were unquestionably in decline, Mr. Lee retained an ace no other network could match: the comedy “Modern Family,” already a hit, exploded this fall after a deluge of Emmy Awards.

“Some of this is definitely luck,” he said. “You can have the best ideas but they don’t always click.”

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The Boss: From Cola to Carrots

My father worked for Coca-Cola, so I grew up with a very famous brand. He was vice president for prestige accounts, with clients like the United States Olympic Committee and Disney.

I put myself through the University of Georgia by working in two bars. First, I was a barback, stocking liquor and doing anything else required, and was later promoted to bartender. Then I managed a bar called Crazy Zack’s in Athens, Ga., my last two years of college. I often say I learned more about people while standing behind a bar than perhaps in any other job I’ve had. It taught me to read people and to size them up.

After graduating in 1980, I got a job with E. J. Gallo Winery as a salesman in Mississippi. After a couple of years, I left and worked for Coke in its wine division, the Wine Spectrum, in California. I hadn’t intended to work for the same company as my father. I was due to be promoted at Gallo when my boss called and said Wine Spectrum was a competitor and since my father worked for its parent company, they were firing me. It was daunting to be fired right out of school for something I had no control over, but it was a good lesson in corporate politics.

I ended up working for Wine Spectrum for two years while attending Pepperdine University at night for an M.B.A. In the 1980’s, Wine Spectrum was sold to Seagram and I transferred to Seagram as part of the sale.

After 18 months at Seagram, I returned to Coke in the fountain department, which sold syrup to institutions and other places having soda fountains. Like Gallo, Seagram was a fine company, but I wanted to move on.

Doug Ivester, then the president of Coca-Cola North America, suggested that I replace my father when he retired. In 1990, I spent a year apprenticing under my dad, then took over prestige accounts for four years. Working for your father in a big corporation isn’t that common, and it’s not always easy. It deepened my relationship with him because I got to see him in a different light.

From the mid-1990s to 2004, I was promoted to president of the Coca-Cola fountain unit and then to president of Coca-Cola North America and Latin America. After leaving Coke in 2004 by mutual agreement, I became interested in private-equity-backed companies and spent a year consulting for them.

One of these companies, Willis Stein Partners, had an interest in Ubiquity Brands, the parent company of several snack food businesses, and appointed me in 2005 as Ubiquity’s president and C.E.O. In 2007, I led the sale of Lincoln Snacks to ConAgra and of Jay’s Foods to Snyder’s of Hanover. The process required some tough decisions that affected a lot of people. I learned that it’s crucial to address the difficult issues up front and to be open and honest. People can deal with almost anything as long as you treat them with respect and give them timely information.

When the opportunity came to lead Bolthouse Farms, which grows and processes more than a billion pounds of carrots a year and produces juices and salad dressings, I felt that I could bridge the skills I had developed and work on healthy products. I joined as president and C.E.O. in 2009.

Everything comes together for me in this position. I love sales and marketing, but walking in the carrot fields brings me back to the people who farm the land. It feels right.

As told to Patricia R. Olsen.

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Jet Order by American Is a Coup for Boeing’s Rival

American, based in Fort Worth, Texas, said that it planned to acquire 260 of the Airbus A320 aircraft and 200 Boeing 737s — half of which will be equipped with a new, more fuel-efficient engine. The move represents a clear commitment by Boeing to revamp its best-selling 737 with new engines, rather than develop an all-new version of the plane — a strategy that until now it had said most of its customers preferred.

The deal, which American described as the largest commercial aircraft deal in history, also includes options and purchase rights for as many as 465 additional planes through 2025.

The airline said that Airbus and Boeing had provided a combined total of $13 billion in financing through lease transactions, which it said would fully cover the cost of the first 230 deliveries, set to begin in 2013. American said it expected to begin receiving its first Airbus and Boeing aircraft equipped with the more advanced engines starting in 2017.

“Today’s announcement paves the way for us to achieve important milestones in our company’s future, giving us the ability to replace our narrowbody fleet and finance it responsibly,” said Gerard Arpey, the chairman and chief executive of American and its parent company, AMR. “With today’s news, we expect to have the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet among our peers in the U.S. industry within five years.”

The order represents a coup for Boeing’s European rival, Airbus, which has not sold new planes to American in more than two decades. American retired its last Airbus jets — a handful of A300 widebodies — in 2009.

“Not only have they sold jets to American, but they have forced Boeing’s hand into pushing for a re-engined 737,” said Saj Ahmad, an analyst at FBE Aerospace in London.

Of the 260 Airbus jets on order, 130 will be for an upgraded version of its A320, which Airbus expects to bring to market beginning in 2016. Airbus has been promising fuel savings with the A320neo of as much as 15 percent over current engines. The new plane is also expected to run more quietly, cost less to operate and be able to fly farther or carry heavier loads while emitting less greenhouse gases.

“This is significant for Airbus, but even more significant for Boeing,” said Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist at BGC Partners, a London brokerage. Boeing, he said, had been “chastened” by the market response to the A320neo, “which is making better headway than anyone had expected.”

Mr. Ahmad of FBE Aerospace agreed. “Boeing has said for months it wouldn’t rush to a decision. But now that they have had to react to this deal, they, too, will capture new swathes of orders.”

Airbus has said it expects to spend around $1.5 billion on the enhancements, and Boeing has placed the costs of fitting a new engine to the 737 within that range. Analysts had estimated that developing an all-new replacement for the 737 would probably have cost Boeing as much as $12 billion.

The 737s and A320s, each of which typically seats 150 to 180, have formed the backbone of the air travel system for decades. More than 10,000 of them shuttle passengers between major airports.

As recently as last month, Boeing had appeared reluctant to commit to a major redesign of the 737 as it faced delays with the 787 Dreamliner. The company, based in Chicago, indicated at the Paris Air Show in June that it did not expect to make a decision until the end of this year on whether to revamp the 737 with new engines or to develop an entirely new single-aisle jet for delivery around the beginning of the next decade.

American trails Delta, United and Southwest among U.S. carriers when measured by number of passengers.

The new orders will help American update a fleet of more than 600 planes which — with an average vintage of 15 years — remains one of the oldest among the six major U.S. carriers. Its stable of single-aisle workhorses includes more than 200 McDonnell-Douglas MD-80s, which average more than 20 years of age and went out of production in 1999.

Analysts noted that American’s move also places its competitors under pressure to update their fleets. Delta is also in talks with Boeing and Airbus and has said it aims to place an order by the end of the year. Southwest Airlines and United are also considering orders, according to industry executives.

“If fuel stays high, and AMR can start pricing fares based on operating aircraft with new generation engines, everyone might need to respond,” Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst for the Teal Group, wrote in a note to clients.

Thomas Horton, AMR’s president, told analysts in a conference call that he expected the new aircraft would eventually reduce American’s overall fuel bill by 15 percent. The revamped A320s and 737s will, for example, be 12 percent more fuel-efficient than its Boeing 757-200 narrowbody jets on a per-seat basis, and 35 percent more efficient than its MD-80s.The impact of fuel on AMR’s bottom line was clear in the company’s second-quarter results, which were published on Wednesday. American paid an average of $3.12 per gallon for jet fuel in the three months to June 30, up 32 percent from an average of $2.37 per gallon for the same period in 2010 — an increase of $524 million. That fuel bill increase more than offset a $467 million gain in revenue for the quarter to $6.1 billion. AMR reported a net loss for the period of $286 million versus an $11 million loss a year earlier. Boeing last month predicted that North American carriers would purchase more than 7,500 new airplanes between now and 2030, valued at $760 billion. Nearly three-quarters of those are expected to be single-aisle jets. Boeing currently holds a 51 percent share of the North American market, according to Ascend, a London-based aviation consultancy.

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Preserving a Market Symbol

As the chief executive of the all-electronic Nasdaq exchange, Mr. Greifeld has questioned whether a physical place where human beings come together to buy and sell stocks is even necessary. He has dismissed the 219-year-old capitalist symbol of the New York exchange as “a stage prop” that ought to be taken apart “board by board.”

Now, though, with Nasdaq and the Intercontinental-Exchange in a fierce fight with the Deutsche Börse to buy the Big Board, and its parent company, NYSE Euronext, Mr. Greifeld insists that he will not only keep the floor open but reverse its long decline.

Although it might seem largely symbolic — only about 1,200 traders remain on the floor, down from more than 2,500 a decade and a half ago — both bidders are promising to keep it open, a rare point of agreement and a nod to the high-stakes public relations battle now under way.

Behind the scenes, however, starkly different strategic visions of the future of stock exchanges are being proposed. The tussle between the exchanges is a question about which model is going to compete most successfully in a global marketplace: one that straddles continents and product lines or one that stays local and focused.

“The question is, what is the exchange of the future?” said Richard Repetto, an analyst at Sandler O’Neill, an investment banking and brokerage firm. “Both want to compete globally but Nasdaq is saying, hey, we think the best way to compete globally is to stay as narrowly focused as possible. NYSE is saying, hey, you need to be diversified to compete and have global capabilities.”

The strategy of the Deutsche Börse calls for the combined company to trade stocks as well as higher-margin, faster-growing derivatives in both Europe and the United States.

“It is a bigger international play,” said Patrick J. Healy, chief executive of the Issuer Advisory Group.

Nasdaq’s vision is built on dominating stock trading in the United States. It would have some international equity trading, like its current OMX operations in the Nordic and Baltic countries, as well NYSE Euronext exchanges in European centers like Paris and Amsterdam.

But the merger would make the combined business the home of all the companies listed in the United States, responsible for 45 percent to 50 percent of domestic trading volume. Issuers, including overseas companies, might prefer a bigger, unified American capital market compared with the fragmented one now.

On Thursday the fate of the Big Board is likely to take center stage at the annual shareholder meeting of NYSE Euronext in Manhattan. But the final outcome may be decided only by a shareholder vote scheduled for July.

The deal with the Deutsche Börse — which went mainly electronic more than a decade ago and has only about 120 traders on its floor in Frankfurt — would give NYSE Euronext a much bigger share of the market for exchange-based derivatives trading in Europe, including interest rate derivatives as well as NYSE Euronext’s 27 percent share of cash stock market trading in the United States.

Under the Nasdaq-ICE bid, NYSE Euronext would be split into two. The NYSE Euronext’s stock-trading operations, including the NYSE floor, would go to Nasdaq, while ICE would pick up most of the derivatives businesses in the United States and Europe.

NYSE’s board has twice rebuffed the Nasdaq-ICE bid, even though Mr. Greifeld sweetened his offer last week with firmer bank financing and an offer to pay a $350 million break-up fee to NYSE Euronext if regulators veto the deal.

The NYSE Euronext board said it still prefers to merge with the Deutsche Börse, because that deal would keep the company intact, and emphasize the global cross-product strategy, while they argue an Nasdaq-ICE combination would run afoul of antitrust rules.

The Nasdaq-ICE bid is also a bet on the superiority of purely electronic trading. From its headquarters in Times Square, Nasdaq has done more than anyone else to draw business away and diminish the exchange, and in the shift to electronic trading the Big Board itself adopted ever more automation and set up its own electronic-only market, called Arca.

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Nasdaq enters bid for NYSE

Nasdaq enters bid for NYSE
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and another U.S.-based market, the IntercontinentalExchange Inc., submitted a joint $ 11.3 billion bid Friday for NYSE Euronext, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange. The offer, which was expected, raises the possibility of a bidding war for the NYSE with Deutsche Boerse. […] stocks are becoming a smaller part of the trading business. Just last year, after the …