March 19 (Reuters) - The following corporate finance-related stories were reported by media on Wednesday:
* Barclays Plc, the second-largest U.K. bank by assets, plans to solicit offers in the next month for its index business, which could fetch $400 million in a sale, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg. (link.reuters.com/fad77v)
* Japan's Fast Retailing Co Ltd, parent of apparel chain Uniqlo, is no longer in talks to buy U.S. clothing retailer J.Crew Group Inc from its private equity owners, three people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
* Blackstone Group LP is working on a higher takeover bid for industrial conglomerate Gates Global Inc after its previous offer of roughly $5.5 billion was turned down by Gates' owners last week, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
* Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd will hold the kickoff meeting for its planned U.S. initial public offering on March 25, setting in motion the most high-profile listing since Facebook Inc's offering nearly two years ago, sources familiar with the plans said on Tuesday.
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