PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Feb 18

Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:23am EST

Feb 18 (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.

* Iran's infiltration of a Navy computer network was far more extensive than previously thought, according to officials, and the officer who led the response will likely face questions about it from senators weighing his nomination as the next head of the embattled National Security Agency. ()

* Actavis Plc is in advanced talks to acquire rival drug maker Forest Laboratories Inc in a deal that could value Forest at up to $25 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.()

* Computer-security researchers have discovered on a website documents that could allow hackers easily obtain electronic medical records and payment information from health-care providers. ()

* British prosecutors filed criminal charges against three former bank traders for alleged fraud, opening a new front in a global investigation into alleged rigging of benchmark interest rates, with more charges in the pipeline. ()

* Barry Sternlicht, a star real-estate investor and founder of the W hotel chain, is in early talks with banks about selling shares of his investment firm to the public, according to people with knowledge of the matter. ()

* Alcoa Inc said Monday it would close a large aluminum smelter in Australia, cutting total capacity by 4.8 percent, as stubbornly low raw aluminum prices mean "the 50-year-old smelter has no prospect of becoming financially viable." ()

* Bharti Airtel Ltd, India's biggest telecommunications company, is in advanced talks to acquire closely held Loop Mobile India Pvt Ltd, company executives familiar with the matter said Monday. ()

* Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, the top global contract manufacturer by revenue, intends to list its cable and connector unit in Taiwan next year as it seeks funds for overseas expansion and new technologies. ()

* BHP Billiton Ltd said Tuesday its first-half profit rose as it cut spending and squeezed more from assets including its vast Australian iron ore pits to offset a decline in global commodity prices. ()