PRESS DIGEST- New York Times business news - May 9

Fri May 9, 2014 12:23am EDT

May 9 (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.

* Omnicom Group Inc and Publicis Groupe called off their $35 billion merger on Thursday, bringing a premature end to a deal that would have created the largest advertising company in the world. A mix of clashing personalities, disagreements about how the companies would be integrated and complications over legal and tax issues derailed the deal nine months after it was announced. (r.reuters.com/hes29v)

* Pfizer Inc's attempt to escape the United States corporate tax rate by acquiring a British drug maker has set off a flurry of activity within other big companies across the country. Pfizer has offered to buy AstraZeneca PLC for $106 billion. If the deal is successful, Pfizer would become an English company, reducing its tax bill by at least $1 billion a year.(r.reuters.com/jes29v)

* Apple Inc is in discussions to buy Beats Electronics, the company behind the popular "Beats by Dr. Dre" headphones, for $3.2 billion. The deal would also include the new Beats Music streaming service, which was introduced in January as a competitor to Spotify and Pandora. (r.reuters.com/mes29v)

* Snapchat, the popular mobile messaging service, agreed to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that messages sent through the company's app did not disappear as easily as promised. Under the terms of the settlement, Snapchat will be prohibited from misrepresenting how it maintains the privacy and confidentiality of user information. The company will also be required to start a wide-ranging privacy program and will be independently monitored for 20 years. (r.reuters.com/pes29v)

* Daniel Tarullo, the Federal Reserve governor who oversees regulation, said he wants to banish the practice of banks being allowed to use their own tests to assess the riskiness of their assets and activities. This suggestion represents another big shift away from a regulatory regime that left the financial system vulnerable to collapse in the 2008 crisis. (r.reuters.com/qes29v)

* Barclays PLC announced its plans to shrink its investment banking business by slashing half of its capital and more than a quarter of its work force, or 7,000 jobs. Instead, Barclays will focus on four core areas - retail and corporate banking, credit cards, banking in Africa and, to a lesser extent, investment banking. (r.reuters.com/ses29v)

* Amazon has begun discouraging customers from buying books by Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Colbert, J. D. Salinger and other popular writers. A Hachette spokeswoman said that the publisher was striving to keep Amazon supplied but that the Internet giant was delaying shipments "for reasons of their own." (r.reuters.com/tes29v)

* The Federal Election Commission on Thursday voted to allow political committees to accept Bitcoin donations and outlined the ways that the virtual currency can be used by federally regulated campaigns. (r.reuters.com/ves29v)

* The Kellogg Company, maker of some of the country's most familiar breakfast cereals, said on Thursday that it had agreed to drop the terms "all natural" and "nothing artificial" from some products in its Kashi line as part of a settlement agreement ending a class-action lawsuit. The settlement, which includes a $5 million payment, comes at a time when food companies are facing a number of lawsuits over ingredients and labeling. (r.reuters.com/xes29v)

* A federal bankruptcy judge ordered LightSquared and its chief creditor, Charles Ergen, to discuss a settlement after she refused to approve the wireless provider's plan to exit its two-year bankruptcy. LightSquared premised its plan to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy on subordinating the $1 billion it owes to Ergen, the chairman of Dish Network, to the claims of other creditors. (r.reuters.com/cus29v)

* William Lewis, who has served as acting chief executive of News Corp's Dow Jones division since January, has been named its permanent chief, the company announced on Thursday. (r.reuters.com/fus29v)

* RadioShack Corp said on Thursday that it could not come to an agreement with its lenders that would allow it to close 1,100 of its stores. The company's credit agreement allowed it to close only 200 stores a year and up to 600 over the life of the agreement. RadioShack had been negotiating with its lender for approval to close nearly twice that total number. (r.reuters.com/gus29v)

* CBS Corp reported on Thursday that its first-quarter earnings rose 6 percent as higher licensing fees from the company's Showtime network helped it overcome an advertising downturn caused by less sports programming. CBS has been reducing its reliance on the volatile advertising market by seeking higher fees from cable, satellite and Internet video providers. (r.reuters.com/hus29v) (Compiled by Ankush Sharma in Bangalore)

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