PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - June 16

June 16 Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:32am EDT

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June 16 (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.

* German engineering company Siemens AG and Japanese peer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd were close to finalizing an offer for much of Alstom's energy business, potentially entering a bidding war with General Electric Co for one of France's industrial jewels, said people familiar with the companies' plans. (link.reuters.com/xeg22w)

* Medtronic Inc's agreement on Sunday to buy rival medical-device maker Covidien for $42.9 billion is the latest in a wave of recent moves designed, at least in part, to sidestep U.S. corporate taxes. (link.reuters.com/gyg22w)

* Williams Co Inc agreed to pay nearly $6 billion to expand its ownership of Access Midstream Partners, a move aimed at increasing the natural-gas pipeline company's presence in areas with growing energy output from shale formations. (link.reuters.com/zeg22w)

* In the race to get the world's fastest mobile Internet service, South Korea and the European Union on Monday will unveil a major new pact to join forces on so-called 5G networks, according to a draft of the agreement seen by The Wall Street Journal. The deal sets up a joint group to develop systems, set standards and get radio frequencies ready to accommodate the new technology. The aim is to have a global consensus and vision on 5G by the end of 2015. (link.reuters.com/ceg22w)

* Starbucks Corp is planning to foot part of the bill for an online degree for U.S. employees who work at least 20 hours a week in its cafes, corporate offices and roasting plants. The coffee giant is teaming up with Arizona State University to provide tuition reimbursement and financial aid to U.S. employees who enroll in the school's online bachelor's degree program. (link.reuters.com/deg22w)

* Fiat SpA approved the sale of as much as 4 billion euros ($5.45 billion) in bonds as the Italian carmaker seeks to refinance at a lower interest rate and lessen the weight of its 10 billion euros ($13.62 billion) in debt. (link.reuters.com/reg22w)

* One of Brazil's wealthiest men, banker Moise Yacoub Safra, died Sunday in Sao Paulo. He was 79. One of the founders of Brazilian bank Banco Safra, the magnate suffered from Parkinson's Disease, according to the local press. (link.reuters.com/seg22w)

* Germany's Economics Ministry said Sunday it has launched a probe into RWE's planned sale of its upstream oil-and-gas unit to a group of Russian investors, looking at whether the deal would conflict with the country's strategic interest. (link.reuters.com/weg22w)

($1 = 0.73 Euros) (Compiled by Sampad Patnaik in Bangalore)

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