PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Dec 12

Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:07am EST

Dec 12 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Sprint Nextel Corp is in advanced talks to acquire the 49 percent of Clearwire Corp it doesn't already own, people familiar with the matter said. Such a move would clear up a tangled ownership structure that has left Sprint unable to control the decisions of a key strategic partner. ()

* Delta Air Lines Inc confirmed plans to buy 49 percent of Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd for $360 million, aiming to create a trans-Atlantic joint venture that would substantially boost its market share in the lucrative U.S.-London market and pose a fresh competitive challenge to American Airlines. ()

* North Korea launched a multistage rocket Wednesday that appeared to travel the entire distance of a projected course and put an object into orbit, making it the most successful of the country's five attempts at testing long-range missile technology. ()

* The White House has told Republicans it would include an overhaul of the corporate-tax code as part of any deal to reduce the deficit, people familiar with the talks said, a move to court business groups as budget negotiations intensify. ()

* British law-enforcement authorities arrested three men Tuesday as part of a widening criminal investigation into attempted manipulation of interest rates. ()

* Ten Big Lots Inc executives sold a total of more than $23 million in the discount retailer's stock in March before the company announced news that sank its stock, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. ()

* Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc's planned acquisition of two oil explorers is coming under fire from investors who say the tie-up is riddled with conflicts of interest and who recently held at least 9 percent of its shares. ()

* A FedEx Corp employee suspected the delivery company in 2011 of "systematically overcharging" its business customers and taking "no action" to address the problem, according to documents recently unsealed as part of a lawsuit against the company. ()

* The Treasury Department said it would generate $7.6 billion in proceeds from its sale of AIG Inc shares, as it sells nearly all its remaining holdings in the insurer it helped rescue at the height of the financial crisis. ()

* The Federal Reserve is pushing large U.S. banks to forget about all but the smallest acquisitions for a while amid a raging debate over the risk big lenders pose to the financial system. ()

* In one of her last acts as Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, Mary Schapiro is helping resolve conflicts among U.S. financial regulators over the contentious and oft-delayed "Volcker rule." ()

* U.S. oil demand is expected to rise by 0.5 percent to 18.73 million barrels a day in 2013, after slumping 1.6 percent to a 15-year low this year, a government forecast said Tuesday. ()

* Regulators sued a New Jersey consultant who was a prominent "gatekeeper" for Chinese companies in the U.S., alleging that he defrauded investors, manipulated trading and improperly sold securities in connection with some of the 20-plus Chinese firms he helped to gain access to U.S. markets. ()

* Rhode Island's rollback of public-employee retirement benefits has turned the small state into a national battleground over pensions. ()

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