PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - May 13

Tue May 13, 2014 12:36am EDT

May 13 (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.

* AT&T Inc is close to sealing a takeover of DirecTV that could value the satellite-television provider at about $50 billion. The two sides are discussing a deal that would involve a mix of cash and AT&T stock. An agreement could be reached in two weeks if not sooner, people familiar with the matter said. (r.reuters.com/dyg39v)

* Pfizer Inc laid out a case for its proposed $106 billion takeover of AstraZeneca PLC in documents sent on Monday to two U.K. parliamentary committees. For the first time, Pfizer said that its five-year commitments to the U.K. - made 10 days ago as part of an unsolicited takeover bid of $84.26 a share - were legally binding. AstraZeneca rejected the offer, saying the proposal substantially undervalued the company. (r.reuters.com/hyg39v)

* Hillshire Brands Co agreed to buy Pinnacle Foods Inc for $4.3 billion in a bet that mixing hot dogs and frozen cakes with pickles, syrup and salad dressing will add up to a more appetizing business. The deal, announced on Monday, would create a company with about $6.6 billion in annual revenue and a broad array of brands including Hillshire's namesake lunch meats, Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs. (r.reuters.com/jyg39v)

* Several major advertisers, including MasterCard Inc , Mondelez International and Verizon Wireless in the past year have moved a portion of the money they previously spent on television to online outlets, conscious that viewers are more frequently watching video online. And with online outlets in recent weeks unveiling plans to ramp up their programming, more shifts are likely, say media buyers. (r.reuters.com/nyg39v)

* London Stock Exchange Group PLC has emerged as a contender for Russell Investments, the stock-index and asset-management business that is on the auction block. The U.K. stock-exchange operator is among a small group of late-stage bidders for Russell, which Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co officially put on the auction block early this year. (r.reuters.com/ryg39v)

* Citizens Financial Group Inc filed for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. In the filing, Citizens said the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed deal haven't yet been determined. However, it plans to raise up to $100 million in the offering. (r.reuters.com/wyg39v)

* Federal prosecutors asked a judge for a stiff sentence of more than five years in prison for Michael Steinberg, a former senior employee of SAC Capital Advisors LP convicted of insider trading last year. Steinberg, who is free on bail, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in federal court in Manhattan. (r.reuters.com/zyg39v)

* Becker Drapkin Management LP, an activist investor that targets smaller companies, has taken a 7.2 percent stake in XO Group Inc, according to a regulatory filing on Monday. The investment fund supports XO Group's recently named Chief Executive Michael Steib but is raising questions about the continued operational role of co-founder and Chairman David Liu and losses piling up under Liu's watch in China. (r.reuters.com/cah39v) (Compiled by Ankush Sharma in Bangalore)

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