PRESS DIGEST-New York Times business news - Dec 21

Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:38am EST

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. ()

* Federal agents arrested a former bank executive in Los Angeles in connection with the accounting scandal that erupted last year at Olympus Corp, the Japanese camera and medical equipment maker. ()

* Charlie Rose and his production company, Charlie Rose Inc, have agreed to pay as much as $250,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by a former unpaid intern who claimed minimum-wage violations. ()

* Peter Madoff was sentenced to 10 years in prison for crimes that helped his brother, Bernard Madoff, swindle investors out of billions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme that collapsed four years ago this month. ()

* An accounting rule that would often force banks to take loan write-downs well before loans actually go bad was preliminarily proposed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which sets American accounting rules. ()

* Speaker John Boehner's effort to pass fallback legislation to avert a fiscal crisis in less than two weeks collapsed Thursday night in an embarrassing defeat after conservative Republicans refused to support legislation that would allow taxes to rise on the most affluent households in the country. ()