February 13, 2014 / 7:29 AM / in 4 years

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Feb 13

Feb 13 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Comcast Corp has agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion in stock, in a deal that would combine the nation’s two biggest cable operators. With the proposed deal, Comcast almost certainly ends an eight-month takeover battle for TWC waged by Charter Communications Inc and its biggest shareholder, Liberty Media Corp. ()

* Apple Inc said it has verified that its suppliers do not use tantalum, a key metal used in electronic components, secured from sources that use the mineral’s sale to provide funds for violent armed groups in war-torn parts of Africa.()

* Dropbox Inc, the fast-growing online storage company, plans to name Google Inc executive Dennis Woodside as its first chief operating officer. Woodside, a Google veteran of more than 10 years most recently ran the Motorola Mobility handset unit. ()

* Newly discovered documents had revealed that Google Inc has imposed strict restrictions on device makers that want access to its search engine, YouTube or the more than one million apps in its Play Store. In return, the device makers must feature other Google apps and set Google search as the default for users, according to the agreements. ()

* Verizon Wireless is easing into the cellphone market’s price war, cutting rates on some of its data plans by as much as 12.5 percent. Customers now paying $80 a month for a smartphone plan with 500 megabytes of data can get that same service for $10 less a month, among other offers. ()

* BNP Paribas SA Thursday announced an unexpected slump in fourth-quarter profit after it set aside a $1.1 billion provision against possible penalties for allegedly violating U.S. laws that restrict financial transactions with countries under economic sanctions. ()

* On Thursday, cable companies Comcast Corp, Time Warner Cable Inc and Charter Communications Inc along with tech giants Google Inc and Microsoft Corp , are expected to announce a new coalition to bolster efforts to expand access to WiFi. ()

* Lenovo Group Ltd warned its earnings in the short-term could be hurt by its acquisition of Google Inc’s Motorola Mobility handset business, even as the Chinese personal-computer maker reported a 30 percent jump in fiscal third-quarter net profit. ()

* Merck & Co Inc’s effort to sell its portfolio of well-known consumer brands including Coppertone sunscreen and Claritin allergy pills is kicking into high gear, with big consumer and healthcare industry players expected to put in bids that could top $10 billion. ()

* Avon Products Inc is in advanced talks with federal authorities to settle a long-running bribery probe that has dogged the beauty products company for years and could cost tens of millions of dollars to resolve. ()

* A giant solar-power project officially opening this week in the California desert is the first of its kind, and may be among the last, in part because of growing evidence that the technology it uses is killing birds. The $2.2 billion solar farm with nearly 350,000 mirrors, each the size of a garage door, that reflect sunlight onto boilers atop towers, creating steam that drives power generators. ()

* Firefox, the open-source browser that sparred with advertisers over tracking Web users, will soon display advertising. The non-profit Mozilla Foundation, which owns Firefox, said Wednesday it would sell a small number of ads, which will appear on new browser tabs for new users. ()

* Apple Inc appears to be scaling back its lofty TV industry plans. The company is talking to media companies and pay TV distributors including Time Warner Cable Inc about launching a revamped Apple-branded TV set-top box in coming months, according to people familiar with the matter. ()

* Deere & Co, the world’s largest seller of farm machinery, said Wednesday it expects U.S. tax breaks that helped propel sales of farm equipment in recent years to be reinstated later this year. ()

* Chinese cosmetics retailer Jumei.com has tapped banks for an initial public offering in the United States, said people familiar with the company’s plans. The IPO might raise about $600 million, at a valuation above $3 billion, and is expected to come later this year. ()

* Total SA was hit by the same mix of declining refining margins and high exploration costs that have slammed its European rivals in the fourth quarter, causing its earnings to slide. ()

* Cisco Systems Inc continues to face sagging demand for some important products, a problem exacerbated in its fiscal second quarter by some faulty memory chips. The company on Wednesday reported a 55 percent drop in income for the quarter, blaming a $655 million charge to cover the costs of addressing the memory-chip problem. ()

* Samsung Electronics Co is revamping its push into the U.S. enterprise and government sector, adding further pressure to the new leadership at the company that once dominated that space - BlackBerry Ltd. Samsung recently won an order for roughly 7,000 smartphones from the U.S. Army and is close to securing an order for several thousand devices from the U.S. National Security Agency, according to a person familiar with the matter. ()

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is pressing Canada for subsidies to keep production at a minivan factory in Windsor, Ontario, a move that underscores the clout global auto makers wield when bargaining with governments eager for manufacturing jobs. ()

* The chief executive of SoftBank Corp said its Sprint Corp wireless subsidiary needs to make another acquisition in the United States if it is to achieve its ambition of shaking up the country’s mobile-phone market. ()

* The Obama administration released voluntary cybersecurity guidelines for utilities, banks and other crucial industries Wednesday, framing them as a basic step companies can take to secure their networks against hackers and other online threats.

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