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Business in brief: Walt Disney Co. buys Marvel cast

From Wire Reports

LOS ANGELES – The Walt Disney Co. is buying Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock, bringing such characters as Iron Man and Spider-Man into the family of Mickey Mouse and WALL-E.

Under the deal, which was announced Monday and is expected to close by the end of the year, Disney will acquire the rights to 5,000 Marvel characters. Many of them, including the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, were co-created by the comic book legend Stan Lee.

Boeing division to get new chief

CHICAGO – Boeing Co. said Monday that Scott Carson will step down as head of the company’s commercial airplane division and retire at the end of the year.

The Chicago-based company said Carson will be succeeded today by the head of its defense business, Jim Albaugh.

Boeing’s commercial aircraft operation has struggled with sharply lower orders amid the global economic downturn, which has hurt demand for air travel and cargo services. It also has grappled with problems arising from its new 787, a next-generation aircraft that’s been delayed five times.

Apple sets date to debut product

CUPERTINO, Calif. – Apple Inc. has officially set Sept. 9 as the date for its next music-themed product launch event in San Francisco.

Apple unveiled redesigned iPod Nano music players at a similarly timed event last year.

The iPod and iPhone maker sent an invitation to journalists Monday morning that reads, “It’s only rock and roll, but we like it,” borrowed from a Rolling Stones lyric. Apple keeps a tight lid on upcoming products and hasn’t confirmed any rumored developments, including a plan to package extra digital content with albums sold on iTunes, and a new tablet-style device.

Judge backs bid for Asarco

DENVER – A bankruptcy judge late Monday recommended Grupo Mexico be allowed to regain control over copper miner Asarco LLC, saying its $2.2 billion bid is more likely to fully repay creditors than that of rival suitor Sterlite Industries.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Richard Schmidt in Corpus Christi, Texas, issued the finding over objections from Asarco, its employees and some creditors who believed Sterlite’s $2.1 billion bid was the best way for the Tucson, Ariz.-based company to emerge from four-year bankruptcy proceedings.

Federal District Court Judge Andrew Hanen will have final approval on Asarco’s future.

Joseph F. Lapinsky, president and chief executive of Asarco LLC, said in an e-mailed statement that the board will review the judge’s recommendation and consult with creditors to determine their next step.

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