PRESS DIGEST- New York Times business news - March 17

March 17 Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:01am EDT

March 17 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the New York Times business pages. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* British telecommunications company Vodafone has reached a deal to buy Spanish cable company Ono for about $10 billion, according to two people familiar with the matter. The deal is expected to be announced Monday morning and values Ono at about 7.2 billion euros, including the assumption of debt. ()

* German utility RWE said it had reached a preliminary agreement to sell its oil and natural gas subsidiary RWE Dea to Russian billionaires Mikhail Fridman and German Khan for 5.1 billion euros, or roughly $7 billion. ()

* Silicon Valley, not content with changing how retailers, taxi companies and hotels do business, is taking its disruptive ways into outer space. Several young companies with roots in Silicon Valley are trying to elbow their way into a business long dominated by national governments and aeronautics giants like Boeing. ()

* More than two dozen attorneys general sent letters on Sunday to five of United States' largest retailers, encouraging them to stop selling tobacco products in stores that also have pharmacies. The letters were sent to Rite Aid, Walgreen , Kroger, Safeway and Walmart, five companies that are among the biggest pharmacy retailers in the country. ()

* China's online commerce giant, Alibaba Group , confirmed early on Sunday that it planned to begin the process of becoming a public company in the United States. Analysts speculate that Alibaba could fetch a valuation well north of $130 billion. Alibaba said that at some point, it might be open to a dual listing in China. ()

* Simbol Materials is building a plant that will use a novel extraction process, in the hopes that it can provide the lithium needed for the batteries in Tesla's cars. ()

* Guinness USA has dropped its sponsorship of the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York, joining protests of a ban on public expression of gay pride. The decision, brought about by the event's ban on public expression of gay pride, was applauded by gay rights groups that had threatened to boycott the company's products. ()

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