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BUSINESS IN BRIEF

Worcester Centrum to be renamed

Digital Federal Credit Union, a fast-growing alternative to traditional banks, said it is buying the naming rights to Worcester's Centrum Centre. The $5.2 million, 10-year deal renames the building to DCU Center. The signs are expected to be changed by the end of the year. DCU, based in Marlborough, has been aggressively raising its profile with television, radio, and print ads in recent months. It recently launched a set of ads that encouraged consumers to ''Think beyond the bank." DCU is not the only financial institution to turn to naming rights for entertainment venues: Bank of America Corp. is in negotiations to rename the FleetCenter in Boston since buying FleetBoston Financial Corp. (SashaTalcott)

Cingular Wireless plans $109m upgrade

Cingular Wireless LLC said it has activated 100 new cell tower or transmitter sites so far this year in Southern New England, with 70 more coming on line by year's end, as the second-biggest carrier tries to catch up with Verizon Wireless's reputation for superior network coverage. Cingular said it is spending $109 million on regional upgrades, including 78 more cell sites in Massachusetts, 49 in Connecticut, 23 in Rhode Island, and 20 in Southern New Hampshire. Besides doubling calling capacity in downtown Boston before the Democratic National Convention, the company has increased coverage on Cape Cod and along Route 2 between Lincoln and Phillipston, said Cingular's regional general manager, Mark Collins. Other areas targeted for upgrades include the Connecticut casinos, New Hampshire International Speedway, the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and the University of Rhode Island. (Peter J. Howe)

Defense contractor buys Calif. company

Raytheon Co. acquired Photon Research Associates Inc. in a move Raytheon said will strengthen its missile defense, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance business areas. Financial terms were not disclosed. The Waltham-based aerospace and defense contractor also said Photon Research will enhance its precision strike and homeland security businesses. Photon Research, of San Diego, specializes in physics-based modeling, simulation, and analysis products for both government and commercial markets. Photon Research will be a wholly owned division of Raytheon, reporting to Raytheon's Space & Airborne Systems unit. (Dow Jones)

THE NATION
Airline hires consultant to buff image

Delta Air Lines Inc., struggling to avoid bankruptcy, has hired an international marketing firm to help reshape its image. Terms of the deal between Delta and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide were not disclosed. Ogilvy & Mather and its media agency partner, Group M/MindShare, will develop an advertising and brand campaign for the nation's third-largest airline. The campaign will deal with the spirit of Delta's employees and its commitment to customer service and will be launched in early 2005. Delta, meanwhile, is continuing talks with its pilots union about the airline's request for $1 billion in concessions. Delta has warned of the possibility of bankruptcy if it doesn't get the concessions. It also is trying to restructure its $20 billion in debt. The two sides are expected to meet this week. (AP)

Sprint PCS offers camera-phone service

Following the launch of a similar service last month by photography giant Eastman Kodak Co., Sprint PCS rolled out a service that lets people make snapshot-style prints of photos they take with their wireless camera phones. The photos can be printed out at retail outlets including Ritz Camera, Wolf Camera, and Sam's Club stores for prices ranging from 20 cents for a 4x6 photo to $5 for a sheet of eight wallet-size photos. Sprint, the fourth-largest US cellphone company, with 17 million direct subscribers and over 5 million wholesale or affiliated customers, charges $15 a month for unlimited Picture Mail service. People who get a photo e-mailed to them by someone with a Sprint camera phone can also use the new service, which is managed by Fuji Photo Film USA Inc., to print out copies. (Peter J. Howe)

Album sales up 5.8% through 3d quarter

Album sales in the United States rose 5.8 percent in the first nine months of this year, reflecting an overall turnaround in music sales that began a year ago on the strength of hit releases and a growing market for digital tracks. About 463 million albums were sold in the United States between January and Oct. 3, compared with roughly 437.4 million in 2003, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Overall, the number of albums, singles, and digital tracks sold in the first nine months of the year totaled 562.7 million. Comparable numbers for 2003 were not immediately available. A comparison of overall music sales figures through Sept. 26 showed a 5.4 percent increase in units sold this year over the same period in 2003. The sales data continued to reflect encouraging news for the industry, which suffered a sales slump from 2000 to 2003, prompting a wave of restructuring by record companies and thousands of layoffs. (AP)

CEO survey sees slower growth next year

Chief executives of some of the largest companies see the US economy slowing in 2005, citing terrorism as a major near-term risk, according to a survey. About 70 percent of the executives surveyed by the Business Council projected flat to 2 percent growth -- a more bearish view than economists' expectations reflected in the latest Blue Chip Economic Indicator survey, which projected growth of 3.6 percent in 2005. The Business Council survey, often seen as a gauge of corporate sentiment, was released ahead of a meeting of the group's members -- 125 CEOs from companies such as DuPont, General Electric, and Procter & Gamble. (Reuters)

8 ex-Peregrine executives charged

Eight former Peregrine Systems Inc. senior officials, including chief executive Stephen P. Gardner, and a former Arthur Andersen LLP auditor were charged with orchestrating and covering up a multimillion-dollar accounting fraud at the software maker. An indictment handed up by a federal grand jury in San Diego also names two men who worked for software distributors and accuses them of assisting in the fraud. Former Peregrine sales official Peter O'Brien, 44, pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and is cooperating with prosecutors, the Justice Department said. Last year, Peregrine reached a partial settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over similar allegations. Also in 2003, the company restated $509 million in revenue. Peregrine emerged last year from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with $537 million less debt and owing about $70 million. (Bloomberg)

THE WORLD
Retailer wins labor decision in Canada

Wal-Mart Canada Corp. declared victory in its effort against unionization at a store in British Columbia. The Canadian branch of the world's largest retailer said it was notified that the British Columbia Labor Relations Board had dismissed an application by the United Food and Commercial Workers to unionize its ''associates" at a store in Terrace, British Columbia. The board ruled that the UFCW lacks sufficient support to warrant a vote at the store. Workers at the store voted on unionization June 21, but the ballots were sealed while the labor board considered the issue of the scope of the bargaining unit. Wal-Mart said those votes now will not be counted. (AP)

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