December 4, 2012 / 7:21 AM / in 5 years

PRESS DIGEST-New York Times business news - Dec 4

Dec 4 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the New York Times business pages on Tuesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Toy makers are seizing on a marketplace shift that has more fathers making buying decisions as girls are increasingly encouraged to play with toys that develop math and science skills. ()

* The Securities and Exchange Commission charged the Chinese affiliates of five big accounting firms on Monday with violating securities laws, claiming they failed to produce documents from their audits of several China-based companies under investigation for fraud. ()

* Oracle said on Monday that it would pay more than $800 million in next year’s dividends to shareholders later this month, joining a growing number of companies accelerating such payments or declaring special dividends because of the possibility that income tax rates will rise in 2013. ()

* Automakers said on Monday that new-vehicle sales in the United States rose 15 percent in November, as the replacement of cars and trucks damaged in Hurricane Sandy contributed to the industry’s best monthly sales rate in four years. ()

* This year, more than 40 brand-name drugs - valued at $35 billion in annual sales - lost their patent protection, meaning that generic companies were permitted to make their own lower-priced versions of well-known drugs like Plavix, Lexapro and Seroquel - and share in the profits that had exclusively belonged to the brands. ()

* A phone hacking scandal and restless shareholders may have forced Rupert Murdoch to split News Corporation into two companies, but on Monday he celebrated the decision by pouring Veuve Clicquot Champagne over the head of his newest editor. ()

* The British government announced plans on Monday to crack down on tax dodgers as a parliamentary report criticized United States companies for what it described as tax avoidance. ()

* In a bold bid to reduce its debt burden, Greece offered on Monday to spend as much as 10 billion euros to buy back 30 billion euros of its bonds from investors and banks. While the buyback had been expected, the prices offered by the government were above what the market had forecast, with a minimum price of 30 euro cents and a maximum of 40 cents, for a discount of 60 percent to 70 percent. ()

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