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Dec. 20--Carnival Corp. expanded its global reach Thursday by announcing the planned $300 million cash acquisition of Costa Cruises, Europe's largest line.
Under the agreement, Carnival and the giant European tour company Airtours will take equal stakes in Costa. Earlier this year, Carnival bought a nearly 30 percent stake in Airtours, which is based in the United Kingdom.
The announcement comes after months of speculation that Costa wanted to sell a majority stake in itself to help finance the cost of keeping up with Miami-based rivals such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
Carnival spokesman Tim Gallagher said the move was part of the company's "globalization …