July 3, 2015 / 5:08 AM / 3 years ago

PRESS DIGEST- New York Times business news - July 3

July 3 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the New York Times business pages. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* The International Monetary Fund, a big Greek creditor, conceded a point on Thursday that the Athens government has long been making: Without some reduction in the country's staggering debt load, Greece has little hope of a sustained economic recovery. (nyti.ms/1T9nRYB)

* Aetna Inc is near an agreement to buy its smaller rival Humana Inc for about $34 billion, people briefed on the matter said on Thursday, in what could be the first in a series of mergers among the country's big health insurers. (nyti.ms/1GTpq4f)

* An $18.7 billion settlement announced Thursday of all federal, state and local claims against the oil giant BP Plc arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill would be the largest environmental settlement - and the largest civil settlement with any single entity - in the nation's history, officials said Thursday. (nyti.ms/1CfkoUh)

* Dollar Tree Inc and Family Dollar Stores Inc have agreed to sell 330 Family Dollar stores to settle a complaint that their proposed merger would probably be anticompetitive, the Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday. (nyti.ms/1RVb2yC)

* Centene Corp, a managed health care company, said on Thursday that it had agreed to acquire its rival Health Net Inc in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $6.8 billion, including the assumption of debt. (nyti.ms/1UfpWns)

* Barnes & Noble Inc, the country's largest bookstore chain, announced on Thursday that it had appointed a new chief executive, Ronald Boire. Boire, who is the chief executive and president of Sears Canada Inc, will start on Sept. 8. He will succeed Michael Huseby, who will become the executive chairman of Barnes & Noble Education. (nyti.ms/1C4EekM) (Compiled by Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru)

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