Bid & Ask

COLLECTIBLES

Estimated value of European stamps being put up for auction by Pimco's Bill Gross, manager of the world's biggest bond fund and avid philatelist: $1 million. Proceeds will benefit the charity Doctors Without Borders.

BANKING

Countrywide Financial settled a class action for more than $600 million. The suit alleged that management at Countrywide, now part of Bank of America, concealed that the lender allowed its underwriting standards to deteriorate.

TRAVEL

Rental-car company Dollar Thrifty Automotive agreed to sell itself to rival Hertz Global holdings for $1.27 billion in cash and stock.

SPORTS

The Philadelphia Phillies signed first baseman Ryan Howard to a five-year contract extension worth $125 million.

LICENSING

Iconix Brand Group and the family of cartoonist Charles Schultz paid United Features Syndicate $175 million for the rights to the Peanuts comic-strip characters. (For the record, Lucy thinks she's worth more than that.)

TELECOM

Phone company CenturyTel is paying about $10 billion for Qwest Communications. The deal, the year's third largest, will more than double CenturyTel's customer base and raise annual sales to almost $20 billion.

REAL ESTATE

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, knocked $1 million off the asking price for his Chicago mansion, now listed for $9.5 million. The 15,000-sq. ft. home has been on the market for four years.

ENTERTAINMENT

Value of a painting that graffiti artist Banksy gave the London band formerly known as Exit Through the Gift Shop, according to British newspaper reports: $305,000. The band agreed to change its name, which happened to be the title of Banksy's recently released film.

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