July 14 (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.
* Sotheby's, the blue-chip auction house, and eBay Inc plan to announce Monday that they have formed a partnership to stream Sotheby's sales worldwide. (http://nyti.ms/WbEqeJ)
* On Monday, Illinois is expected to become the first state to bring legal action against debt settlement companies in connection with their student loan practices, contending in two separate lawsuits that Broadsword Student Advantage and First American Tax Defense duped vulnerable borrowers into paying for help that never arrived. (http://nyti.ms/1zAjYmP)
* BitTorrent, a purveyor of file-sharing technology that is widely used to gain free access to music and films, has come up with a bold proposition for its tens of millions of daily users: Spend $9.95 to help finance a planned new science fiction series and gain viewing rights to its eight episodes. Or fail to pay up, and the shows will never be made. (http://nyti.ms/U8XCYV)
* Swiss chocolate maker Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Spruengli AG is closing in on a deal to acquire Russell Stover Candies, the storied American boxed-chocolate maker, according to a person briefed on the matter. Earlier this year, another person briefed on the process said Russell Stover was expected to sell for about $1 billion. (http://nyti.ms/1yfblMN)
* Whiting Petroleum Corp on Sunday said it would buy Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp for $3.8 billion in stock, and assume $2.2 billion of Kodiak's debt. (http://nyti.ms/1nvKrgg)
* The head of Boeing Co's commercial aircraft division said on Sunday that he was optimistic that the United States Congress would ultimately agree to reauthorize funding to the Export-Import Bank, which guarantees billions of dollars in loans to foreign buyers of its airplanes. (http://nyti.ms/1nmeTol) (Compiled by Arnab Sen in Bangalore)