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Low-cost Irish carrier places large 737 order with Boeing

ORLANDO, Fla. – Ireland’s Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, has agreed to buy 200 Boeing 737NGs at rock-bottom pricing estimated at about $9 billion.

An industry source close to the Ryanair deal, who is attending the aircraft financing conference here of the International Society for Transport Aircraft Trading, confirmed the order, which was first reported in the Irish Independent newspaper Tuesday morning.

The newspaper said the deal will be officially announced next week when Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny meets President Barack Obama for the annual St. Patrick’s Day visit.

The deal is important for Boeing because the 737NG is the current single-aisle model, and this order provides a bridge to keep production of that model going strong until the 737MAX replacement comes online in 2017.

New Twinkies owners enter Devil Dogs, Yodels bidding

NEW YORK – The new owners of Twinkies apparently developed a sweet tooth for Hostess snack cakes.

Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co., which made a joint offer to snap up the famous cream-filled cakes, have also entered the contest to buy Drake’s, which include Devil Dogs and Yodels, according to a source who requested anonymity because the sale process is private.

The fresh offer poses a challenge to McKee Foods, the maker of Little Debbie cakes. Hostess had previously picked McKee’s $27.5 million offer as the “stalking horse” bid for Drake’s that set the floor for an auction.

Pinterest offers new tools to measure business traffic

SAN FRANCISCO – Social network Pinterest has begun offering businesses new tools that help measure the number of visitors it sends their way, another step on the path to broadening its appeal with brands and making money.

The free product, called Pinterest Web Analytics, gives businesses insight into how people interact with their content on Pinterest.

The popular online bulletin board lets you collect and share images from around the Web by “pinning” them to virtual boards. It was the 28th most visited website among U.S. Internet users in January with about 30 million unique visitors, according to research firm ComScore.

The new tool that tracks user activity, such as how frequently people click on a company’s photos, was announced in a blog post Tuesday.

NBC’s prime-time viewership drops to lowest level ever

NEW YORK – At the show’s inception in the mid-1970s, the cast of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” was known as the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players.” That now seems bitterly ironic for the network.

The final numbers aren’t in yet, but last weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” with Justin Timberlake as host had far more viewers than anything NBC aired in prime time last week. The badly slumping NBC had its lowest prime-time viewership average ever, even counting summer months, the Nielsen company said.

It’s the nadir, NBC hopes, of a post-holiday free fall where the network has come apart without pro football and its most popular show, “The Voice.”

NBC’s most-watched show in prime time last week, “The Biggest Loser,” was seen by 5.9 million people. Thirty-six other broadcast programs rated higher. The season premiere of “Grimm” had 4.9 million viewers. “Smash” continues to be a catastrophic bust, with 2.7 million viewers last week.


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