December 8, 2023

BlackBerry to Cut 40% of Work Force After Big Loss

BlackBerry’s core smartphone business has struggled mightily as industry rivals have upstaged the company time and again. BlackBerry said it would report a quarterly loss of $950 million to $995 million next week.

The loss is mainly the result of a write-off of unsold BlackBerry phones, as well as $72 million in restructuring charges. The company said that it would discontinue two of the six phones it offers.

It is the latest setback for BlackBerry, which was once a pioneer and a leader in the smartphone market.

Four years ago, BlackBerry had 51 percent of the North American smartphone market, according to the research firm Gartner. But the fast-changing industry, and in particular phones from Apple and Samsung, left the company behind.

Consumers moved to smartphones with full touch screens, multiple cameras and hundreds of thousands of apps to choose from. BlackBerry’s devices largely stayed the same, often with half-screens and a physical keyboard.

Early this year, the company introduced its largest and most ambitious turnaround effort so far, with its BlackBerry 10 line of phones. But the new devices have not dented the grip on the market by Apple and Samsung. And the latest phone in the line, the Z30, caused hardly a ripple when it was introduced this week.

The failure of the BlackBerry 10 line of phones quickly led to speculation that the company, like Palm before it, would be broken apart and perhaps gradually disappear, at best lingering as little more than a brand name. This summer, BlackBerry announced that it was undertaking a strategic review, and many analysts expected the move to lead to a sale of the company.

No obvious buyers have emerged, at least publicly. And the announcement on Friday could suggest that the company may focus less on consumer devices.

If the company goes private, the move could help BlackBerry. Under such a situation, it would no longer have to manage quarterly financial results and appease public investors, who are often interested in short-term stock gains. But going private, even with a much smaller operation than it had just a few years ago, would not guarantee a return to profits and growth.

Shares of BlackBerry, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario, fell more than 17 percent, or $1.80, to $8.73.

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DealBook: Tribune Said to Hire Banks to Sell Newspapers

The Tribune Company has hired investment banks to pursue a sale of its top newspapers, including The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times, a person briefed on the matter told DealBook on Tuesday.

The media company, which emerged from bankruptcy late last year, has hired JPMorgan Chase and Evercore Partners to run the process, said this person, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Tribune’s move comes as little surprise. Speculation has been swirling around the media industry for some time that a number of potential suitors had emerged for the company’s holdings, a lot that may include the News Corporation.

Peter Liguori, Tribune’s recently appointed chief executive, told The Los Angeles Times last month that he had not ruled out a sale of the company’s newspaper brands but added that he wasn’t “going into this job with a fire-sale sign.”

A sale would help Tribune focus more on its bigger broadcasting operations, which includes WGN America and 24 stations across the country.

The company emerged from Chapter 11 protection on Dec. 31, under the control of the investment firms Oaktree Capital and Angelo, Gordon, as well as JPMorgan.

Shares in Tribune, which trade over the counter, were up 1.3 percent on Tuesday at $53.50. That values the media conglomerate at about $3 billion.

News of the hiring of the banks was reported earlier by CNBC.

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Talk: Soledad O’Brien Is Betting on Jeff Zucker

Is “tragic mulatto” a term I should know?
Oh, yeah. Google it. At Harvard I was taking an African-American studies class, and we were reading about the tragic mulatto. Invariably the tragic mulatto can’t fit in either world and flings herself off a bridge. So I’m reading, and I’m like, Oh, my God, I think I’m in literature, but my life was never like that.

Before this, I didn’t know you had a white Australian dad and a black Cuban mom. Would you prefer to have people not think about your race at all?
It never made a difference to me if people watching knew, but I want people to understand I’m very proud of what I am. My parents have a great story. And I think your background is critical in how you approach the stories that you’re covering.

A couple of my favorite campaign moments were watching you on CNN grilling John Sununu and Rudy Giuliani. Do you enjoy making people squirm?
I like to argue whether it’s with my brothers and sisters or on TV. My desk is always stacked full of first-source material so you can say, “Actually, I have a Congressional budget report, and on Page 116, it says this.” I was yelled at a lot during the campaign. Mr. Giuliani yelled at me a little. That seemed unfortunate. It reminded me a lot of dealing with my 12-year-old, who’s a bit sassy.

Jeff Zucker, who rose to the top of NBC Universal after producing “Today,” was just named head of CNN Worldwide, and he reportedly plans to immediately focus on your morning show, which is behind in the ratings. How scared are you?
Not at all. He was my boss years ago when I worked at the “Today” show. I’m absolutely thrilled to have him back.

But can you seriously be so calm, considering that The New York Post reported that Zucker’s considering moving Erin Burnett to your slot?
Listen, I have been doing this gig for a while. People go crazy with speculation every time there’s a shift in leadership. I can’t comment on every rumor, but so far I’ve read reports on me, Anderson, Piers, Ann Curry and Erin Burnett, and all that’s clear to me is that somebody’s busy dialing Page Six.

Who? Can you be a little more specific?

When you were weekend co-host of “Today,” you said that the recognition you got for softer stories, like one about a trapeze school, felt “a little hollow.” Would you be willing to go lighter now?
I’m fairly confident that I’m not going to be cooking salmon and doing fashion shows on CNN.

But Zucker has said that CNN is not only competing with MSNBC and Fox News but also with History and the Discovery Channel, which produce shows like “Pawn Stars” and “American Chopper.”
If you’ve ever seen “American Chopper,” you know they have created something that is riveting. I don’t think he’s saying we’re going to do “American Chopper II.” I think he’s saying we are going to assume that everybody is our competition. He knows how to win.

Your strength is hard news, doing the homework. I’m not convinced these traits are as prized as they once were.
I bet you $5,000 that CNN is always going to be a place for that. I have four kids to get through college, but I can cover that.

I don’t make TV money. But even though betting has been frowned upon at The Times, I’ll wager $750 that in a year CNN will look much more like “Ice Road Truckers.”
You are so completely wrong. I will take that bet, and I will buy dinner. You should come with a check.


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DealBook: Diageo Ends Talks to Buy Jose Cuervo Brand

Donald Traill /AP Images for Jose Cuervo

8:07 p.m. | Updated

LONDON — The British liquor company Diageo said on Tuesday that it had ended talks to take over the tequila brand Jose Cuervo after failing to agree on a deal with its owners.

Diageo, the maker of Smirnoff vodka and Johnnie Walker Scotch, will stop distributing Cuervo when an agreement with the tequila brand’s owners, the Beckmann family of Mexico, expires at the end of June after 27 years.
The two sides failed to agree on a price for the brand, which analysts had valued at about $3 billion, said a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations, who declined to be identified discussing private talks.

The breakdown of Diageo’s talks with the Beckmanns, who are heirs of the founding Cuervo family, is also likely to fuel speculation that Diageo might be interested in the Beam spirits group in the United States, which owns the tequila brand Sauza.

For now, Diageo said it would focus on developing its Don Julio tequila brand, which is smaller but aimed at a higher-end and faster-growing customer base than Jose Cuervo, according to the company.

Paul S. Walsh, Diageo’s chief executive, said in a statement that the future of Cuervo “would be best delivered by aligning ownership of the brand with its route to market, and I have no doubt that Diageo has the best route to market for this brand.

“However,” he continued, “it has not been possible to agree a transaction which delivers value for Diageo’s shareholders.”

Shares in Diageo fell 1.64 percent in London on Tuesday.

Diageo has been distributing Cuervo outside Mexico since 1986 in a deal that made up about 3 percent of Diageo’s group sales, or about £300 million ($481 million).

The end of the discussions is a setback for Diageo’s plan to expand in faster-growing markets outside Europe, including China, India and Latin America. The company bought a majority stake in United Spirits of India in November after years of negotiations with Vijay Mallya, the Indian tycoon whose family created the liquor brand.

Other makers of alcoholic beverages have been seeking to increase earnings abroad to make up for sluggish demand at home. Asia Pacific Breweries accepted a $4.6 billion bid from the Dutch brewer Heineken for a stake in the company in September. In June, Anheuser-Busch InBev took full control of Grupo Modelo of Mexico, the maker of Corona Extra beer.

Cuervo traces its roots to 1795, when José María Guadalupe de Cuervo received the first official permit from the king of Spain to make tequila. The drink is made from the blue agave plant.

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The Media Equation: Fox News’s Election Coverage Followed Journalistic Instincts

It has been suggested, here and elsewhere, that Fox News effectively became part of the Republican propaganda apparatus during the presidential campaign by giving pundit slots to many of the Republican candidates and relentlessly advocating for Mitt Romney once he won the nomination.

Over many months, Fox lulled its conservative base with agitprop: that President Obama was a clear failure, that a majority of Americans saw Mr. Romney as a good alternative in hard times, and that polls showing otherwise were politically motivated and not to be believed.

But on Tuesday night, the people in charge of Fox News were confronted with a stark choice after it became clear that Mr. Romney had fallen short: was Fox, first and foremost, a place for advocacy or a place for news?

In this moment, at least, Fox chose news.

By now, most of you have no doubt seen or read about the election-night stare-down between the anchors at Fox News and Karl Rove, who, apart from running a “super PAC” that aimed to defeat the president, also served as an on-air commentator. While news outlets love access to insiders, Mr. Rove’s two roles seemed to be in profound conflict after Fox’s decision desk projected that the president had won Ohio, all but guaranteeing him re-election. Mr. Rove said that the call was premature and that the decision desk was ignoring important data.

While Fox News allowed him to say his piece, it didn’t cave — and, more important, it didn’t question the legitimacy of the election over all, a move that could have led to all manner of unhealthy speculation.

The best journalistic instincts of Fox’s news people kicked in and the hard reality of Mr. Obama’s triumph was allowed to land as it occurred. In doing so, the network avoided marginalizing itself and ended, at least for a night, its war on the president.

Watching a news show transparently at war with itself made for extraordinary live television. Just after 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Fox News called Ohio for Mr. Obama. But Mr. Rove, who had helped finance over $300 million in attack ads, was getting phone calls from Romney officials protesting that forecast. He went on live television to challenge it, citing data he was receiving from the Ohio secretary of state.

“That’s awkward,” said Megyn Kelly, the co-anchor, speaking for many of us.

If Fox News had backed up under pressure from the Romney campaign and Mr. Rove, it could have fomented temporary but damaging unrest among its many fervent viewers.

Instead, Ms. Kelly walked down the hall and confronted the decision desk with Mr. Rove’s protest. She asked the head of Fox News’s decision team, Arnon Mishkin, “You tell me whether you stand by your call in Ohio given the doubts Karl Rove just raised?” Ms. Kelly may as well have been asking, “Are we a news organization or an instrument of the conservative agenda?”

Smiling, Mr. Mishkin answered plainly, “We are actually quite comfortable with our call in Ohio.” He and his colleagues were convinced, along with everyone else, that there were not enough Republican votes left in Ohio for Mr. Romney to turn the tide.

Ms. Kelly seemed satisfied, Mr. Rove was vanquished, and by this time the president had been declared the winner over all. Fox News, in this instance at least, landed firmly on the side of journalism, the facts and a narrative based on reality as opposed to partisan fantasy.

As my colleague Jeremy Peters reported, it was Michael Clemente, the executive vice president for news, who decided to let Mr. Rove have his say and then send Ms. Kelly to check it out.

“I was thinking about transparency, about putting out the facts as they happened,” Mr. Clemente told me in a telephone interview.

“For a half an hour, there was a missing piece that other networks were skating around — why there had been no talk of concession — and we wanted to explore why that was happening,” he said.

He added that once Fox concluded that the numbers from the decision desk were correct, it went with them.

“I knew that a big chunk of our viewers were going to be disappointed in the outcome,” Mr. Clemente said, “but I work on the news side, and the most important thing was getting it right.”

With the game declared over, Fox’s audience clicked off in droves. In the 10 p.m. hour, more than 10 million people were tuned in to Fox News, but that audience dropped almost by half in the 11 p.m. hour, once it was clear the president had been re-elected.

Jon Stewart, Slate and others had some fun with the civil war at Fox News, but I found the whole episode somewhat reassuring.

It was going to be a rough night at Fox News no matter how they played it.

The channel had pushed all its chips into the middle and showed its hand, all but declaring that it would be a big night for Mr. Romney. And in the run-up to the election, the channel tilted the rink in favor of Mr. Romney without compunction, keeping its viewers wrapped in a gauzy bubble of conservative notions about a country that had lost regard for its president.

According to Media Matters, a liberal watchdog group, in the final days of the campaign Fox News ran more than two and a half hours of Mr. Romney’s speeches while giving just 27 minutes to Mr. Obama’s.

But the channel was hardly alone in its partisanship. According to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism,   71 percent of MSNBC’s segments about Mr. Romney were negative, while Fox News went negative on the president 46 percent of the time.

Part of the reason the result came as such a shock was that followers of conservative media had been told over and over that mainstream analysis was not to be trusted, that it reflected liberal ideology and not data. But they were misled by media outlets that shared their values, Fox chief among them. David Frum, the conservative columnist, made just that point on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show last week when he said that Republicans had been “fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex.”

Campaigns are about partisanship, about the contest, but elections are about what actually happened. We all have our rooting interests, and Fox News’s are more manifest than most, but no news person wants to be caught out and end up looking dumb.

Fox News made the call on Ohio, and was the third network to call the election, behind NBC and MSNBC, because news people work there and knew what the data were saying. No matter how much Mr. Rove and much of the Fox News audience wanted it to end differently, Barack Obama had been duly re-elected as president of the United States. We decided. They reported.


Twitter: @carr2n

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Olympus Restates Earnings, Showing Loss

TOKYO — Just hours before a critical deadline Wednesday, Olympus, Japan’s disgraced camera maker, announced revised earnings results, owning up to $1.1 billion in losses it hid for more than a decade but ensuring — for now — that its shares will avoid a delisting that would decimate shareholder value.

Providing some added relief to investors, Olympus’s restated numbers, spanning five years, showed that it remained solvent despite the losses the company now acknowledges it kept off its balance sheet. The filing had been widely expected after the company said Monday that it expected to meet a deadline set by the Tokyo Stock Exchange to ensure its shares stayed listed on the bourse.

But the outlook remains precarious for the Tokyo-based manufacturer of endoscopes and cameras: it disclosed an 84 billion yen reduction in net assets through June 2011, and its net assets were just 46 billion yen at the end of September, according to filings made Wednesday.

Olympus also booked a net loss of 32.33 billion yen for the six months through September, highlighting the need for the company to bolster its finances amid heightened speculation that it may be forced to sell off assets or become the target of a takeover.

Some of the statements came with qualified opinions from the company’s auditors. KPMG AZSA said it had been unable to confirm all the money flows involved in the cover-up, which Olympus has admitted began in the 1990s.

“We were unable to get sufficient and appropriate proof for auditing on specific assets and amounts,” KPMG AZSA wrote.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange could still delist Olympus if it deems its past financial transgressions a serious offense
. The bourse said after Olympus’s announcement that the company’s shares would remain on a watchlist for possible delisting.

Reflecting the uncertainties ahead, Olympus shares fell 4 percent on Wednesday to 1,314 yen. The company’s share price has lost about half its value since the scandal broke in mid-October after Michael C. Woodford, its then president, was abruptly sacked.

The company insisted that the aggressive, Western management style of Mr. Woodford, a British national and one of a handful of foreign chief executives in Japan, had not been a good fit for the 92-year-old Japanese manufacturer. But Mr. Woodford immediately blew the whistle on a series of large acquisitions payouts that the company later admitted were part of a scheme to obscure past investment losses.

A third-party panel of legal experts appointed by Olympus, which presented its findings last week, laid the blame on top executives and called the company’s management “rotten to the core.”

Mr. Woodford has now begun a highly public campaign to win back his old job, rallying shareholders behind a plan to appoint a fresh board to lead the company. Olympus’s current board members have said they will step down as early as February, but intend to appoint their own successors – something Mr. Woodford has said is unacceptable.

It is still unclear how much support Mr. Woodford can ultimately garner among Olympus’s shareholders, which include foreign investors who have been receptive to the idea of his return. But Olympus also has large institutional investors in Japan who are more skeptical of whether Mr. Woodford can unify the company and lead a turnaround after a potentially contentious return.

There are also fears in Japan that Mr. Woodford might assist in the sale of Olympus to overseas buyers. But Mr. Woodford dismissed those concerns Wednesday.

“I would have no part at all in selling Olympus or breaking up Olympus. It’s important that Olympus remains a listed company in Japan,” Mr. Woodford said on a live program streamed on a local Internet news and entertainment site, stepping up a bid to appeal directly to Olympus employees, investors and the wider Japanese public.

He said that if he returned as president, he would work swiftly to strengthen the company’s balance sheet, perhaps by tapping private equity or through a rights issue. He would also refocus the company on its core businesses, after a flurry of acquisitions made in the last decade, some of which have been linked to Olympus’s cover-up scheme.

“Because of what’s happened, the company’s balance sheet is in a very poor position,” he said. “We have to stabilize the company. We have to restore confidence.”

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Judge Grants Delay in Challenge to AT&T Merger

Opinion »

Latitude: Rumor Fever

The Chinese government’s censorship of information only feeds speculation.

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Europe Considers Ban on Short Selling

BRUSSELS — A European market regulator is considering recommending a temporary ban on negative bets against stocks across the Continent in an effort to stop the tailspin in the markets.

The European Securities and Markets Authority, a body that coordinates the European Union’s market policies, has been requesting information from member states about such bets against stocks, known as short-sales.

In such deals, a trader sells borrowed shares in hopes that they will decline in value before he has to buy them back to close out his loan. The difference in price is his profit, or loss. Critics say short-selling encourages speculation and pushes stock prices down, sometimes feeding on itself in a panicked market, while advocates say it keeps the market honest and maintains liquidity.

“We are discussing with national authorities and together we will decide whether we need coordinated action,” Victoria Powell, a spokeswoman for the authority, said Thursday. She declined to comment on the timing of any decision or its possible scope.

Two people with knowledge of the discussions, who declined to be identified by name because the talks are confidential, said that the authority might propose a ban on betting against all stocks or just financial stocks. It also may propose a ban on a certain type of short-selling, known as a naked short, in which the party making the negative bet does not borrow the share it is shorting first. The bans would likely be temporary, just to calm the markets.

Such a policy would add to the list of comparisons that commentators are making between the current market unrest and the financial crisis of 2008.

Back then, governments around the world, including Britain and the United States, banned short-selling on financial stocks temporarily. The ban was meant to help bank stocks from falling further, but in time, stocks fell anyway. Hedge funds, in particular, were hurt by the ban because it interfered with trading strategies that pair negative bets with positive ones. This week, Greece banned short-selling for the next two months on all of its stocks. Ms. Powell said that the authority began consulting national regulators when it was informed by Athens about the impending move.

South Korea also began a three-month ban this week, and Turkey, where the main index has fallen nearly 20 percent in the past month, moved on Thursday to curb short-selling as well, Bloomberg News reported.

The ban on short-selling in 2008 has been widely criticized ever since and blamed for driving investors out of the market altogether, further hurting stock prices. It is impossible to know whether the panic would have been worse without the ban, which protected companies like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, but general studies of short-selling have found that bans on that activity can lead to more volatility in the market and lower trading volume, according to Andrew W. Lo, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mr. Lo said banning short-selling also removes important information about what investors think about the financial health of companies, and suggested the bans serve mainly political purposes.

“It’s a bit like suggesting we take heart patients in the emergency room off of the heart monitor because you don’t want to make doctors and nurses anxious about the patient,” Mr. Lo said.

The European authority does not have the authority to impose a policy on short-selling but it can make recommendations and coordinate cooperation among the European Union’s 27 governments. The European Parliament is considering legislation to give authority additional powers.

Some investors are already anticipating that such a ban may occur, said Robert Sloan, managing partner of S3 Partners, a firm that helps hedge funds manage their relationships with their brokers. Mr. Sloan said that for the past two months many investors have been getting out of their short positions in part out of fear that such a ban might be introduced. He also said if there were more short-sellers in the market now, the markets might be falling less than they are. That is because as markets fall, short-sellers often close their positions to cash in profits and in doing so, they have to purchase shares to cash out.

The markets could use these sorts of buyers now, said Mr. Sloan, who wrote a book after the 2008 crisis called “Don’t Blame the Shorts: Why Short Sellers Are Always Blamed for Market Crashes and How History Is Repeating Itself.”

Arturo Bris, a professor of finance at the IMD business school in Lausanne, Switzerland, studied financial stock prices in 2008 before and after a short-selling policy was put in place. On Wednesday, Mr. Bris said that he did not think such a ban in Europe would help in the long run. “If there is a ban in the European markets in the next couple weeks it would stop the blood, but it’s not going to solve the problem,” Mr. Bris said. “It would just delay the problem.”

Even if Europe does ban short-sales of some stocks, investors who are negative on companies may still find ways to bet against them in the derivatives market, if those sorts of trades remain allowed.

Louise Story reported from New York.

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At Paris Air Show, an Affirmation for Bombardier

LE BOURGET, FRANCE — The head of Bombardier’s civil aircraft division said Wednesday that the new orders received this week for its latest regional jet, the C-Series, demonstrated that the program would be economically viable.

Gary R. Scott, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, also dismissed speculation that the Canadian plane maker would be obliged to abandon the project because of lack of demand.

“We are way beyond any uncertainty about the C-Series program,” Mr. Scott said during an interview at the Paris Air Show.

His comments came as Airbus and Boeing announced signed orders and commitments for more than $36 billion worth of new jets on Wednesday, bringing the total haul for the world’s two largest jet makers nearly $80 billion in three days.

Bombardier has announced two new deals for the 100-130 seat C-Series so far this week. On Tuesday, Korean Air said it had ordered 10 planes, worth more than $600 million, and also signed for 10 options and 10 purchase rights on the larger version, the C300. On Monday, Bombardier announced a 10-plane order from an unidentified “major network carrier.”

Bombardier now has 123 orders from seven customers for the plane, which is expected to enter service in 2013. Airlines have also purchased a similar number of options, bringing the company’s expected order book for the C-Series to around 250 planes.

Mr. Scott added that Bombardier was in discussions with a handful of other airlines and did not rule out the possibility of one more C-Series order during the air show, which ends on Sunday.

Analysts have stressed the need for Bombardier to line up more customers to help share the risk as well as the development and capital costs for the plane, currently estimated at around $3.4 billion. Mr. Scott declined to say when he expected the program — which has received about one-third of its financing from the Canadian government — to be profitable.

“We expect the C-Series will provide a good return to all of our stakeholders — government, suppliers and shareholders, and we are on track to do that,” Mr. Scott said. He predicted that the order backlog for the C-Series would be around 300 planes by the time it enters service in two years.

Still, others note that regional jets have seen far more limited sales growth in recent years than larger single-aisle and wide-body jets, particularly as fuel prices have risen. Commercial jets with fewer than 150 seats are expected to make up just 6 percent of new aircraft sales over the next 20 years, equivalent to about $70 billion. That is down from around 14 percent of sales from 2000 to 2010.

Mr. Scott dismissed repeated claims by Airbus that its A320neo — a revamped version of the fast-selling A320 with new, more fuel-efficient engines — had killed the business case for the C-Series.

“Our aircraft is optimized for the 100-150 seat market, while the A320neo is optimized for 150 seats and above,” Mr. Scott said. Per seat, he argued, the C-Series would be 12 percent more fuel-efficient than the A319neo, the smallest version of Airbus’s neo series. Neo stands for new engine option.

That said, Airbus was doing its best on Wednesday to tout the success of its revamped single-aisle jet, announcing more than 160 new A320neo orders and commitments. The total order book for the A320neo family now stands at more than 750 planes.

Among those was a commitment from Republic Airways, a U.S. airline holding company, to buy 80 A320neo family aircraft for use by its Frontier Airlines subsidiary. The deal is valued at $7 billion at list prices, though such large transactions normally are made at deep discounts.

The Colombian airline Avianca and LAN of Chile also ordered 33 and 20 A320neos, respectively.

Aviation Lease and Finance Co. of Kuwait ordered 30 A320neo jets and six A350-900 wide-body jets, valued at $4.3 billion at list prices.

The Indian budget carrier IndiGo on Wednesday formalized a record order for 180 Airbus single-aisle planes it announced in January. The deal, worth $16.6 billion at list prices, is for 150 A320neos and 30 classic A320s. It is the largest single order by number of aircraft in commercial aviation history.

Boeing, meanwhile, announced a large commitment for single-aisle planes from UTair Aviation of Russia. The carrier, based in Tyumen, Siberia, agreed to buy 40 next-generation Boeing 737 planes, including seven 737-900ERs and 33 737-800s, a deal worth $3.3 billion.

That deal was the largest announced so far at the air show for the 737, Boeing’s biggest-selling jet, with a backlog of more than 2,100 planes. Boeing is considering whether to follow Airbus’s lead and offer a version of that plane with a more fuel-efficient engine or to develop a new single-aisle jet for entry into service around 2020.

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