UPDATE 1-Market Chatter-Corporate finance press digest

Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:07am EDT

(Add news on Airbus)

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)

* China is in talks to buy at least 150 Airbus passenger jets potentially worth $20 billion when Xi Jinping pays his first visit to Europe as president at the end of this month, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

* 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.

For the deals of the day click on

For the Morning News Call-EMEA newsletter click on (Compiled by Aashika Jain in Bangalore)