PRESS DIGEST-New York Times business news - Dec 21

Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:38am EST
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Dec 21 - The following are the top stories on the New York Times business pages on Friday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* The owner of the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Euronext , agreed to be acquired by IntercontinentalExchange Inc , an Atlanta-based upstart that has prospered by trading derivatives over the Internet, for $8.2 billion in cash and stock. ()

* Drugmaker Merck & Co Inc announced that a combination of niacin and another medicine failed to protect against heart attacks and strokes in a large clinical trial, and that the company would no longer pursue approval of the combination drug in the United States. ()

* Research in Motion Ltd said that it lost a million BlackBerry owners worldwide during the company's last financial quarter, the first such decline in the device's history. ()

* William Ackman, of Pershing Square Capital Management, announced that his firm had an "enormous" short position in Herbalife Ltd stock. At a gathering sponsored by the Sohn Conference Foundation in Manhattan, Ackman kicked off a three-hour presentation, arguing that Herbalife's retail sales were far less than it claimed. ()