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    Foreign banks are not "queuing up" to buy lenders in Italy after a government reform that is expected to spur a wave of mergers and acquisitions targeting cooperative banks in the euro zone's third biggest economy, its chief executive said.

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    Charter Communications (CHTR) is considering a bid for Time Warner CableTWC, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The news came hours after Comcast (CMCSA) said it would abandon its troubled merger with Time Warner Cable. The speed with which Charter stepped in may underscore how much it needs a deal.

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    Time Warner Cable (TWX), blocked from merging with Comcast (CMCSA) this week by federal officials, may have a new suitor: Charter CommunicationsCharter, the nation’s fourth largest cable company, has begun exploring a bid for Time Warner Cable (TWX), an industry official familiar with the matter said Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no public announcement has yet been made. Charter declined to comment.Charter had pursued a takeover of Time Warner Cable (TWX) in 2013. It first offered to buy the company for nearly $130 a share. Officials at Time Warner Cable (TWX), the nation’s second largest cable company, rebuffed the figure, leading Charter to increase its bid to $132 a share.Comcast (CMCSA) then swooped in with a bid of nearly $159 per share, leading to a merger announcement in February 2014. Fourteen months later, however, the deal fell apart as regulars moved to block the deal. Federal officials had concluded that the combined company would hold too much sway over the entertainment and television industries.[Read: Comcast (CMCSA) chief’s last-minute pleas to a former ally fell on deaf ears]As recently as this February, Charter chief executive Tom Rutledge said he would still be interested in buying Time Warner Cable (TWX) if it came up again.“Any platform out there that’s available that would allow us to take advantage of scale and unsold passings is attractive to us at the right price,” Rutledge told financial analysts on a conference call. Charter serves more than 6 million subscribers with cable, telephone and high-speed internet services across 29 states.Now the company, based in Stamford, Ct., finds itself in a position to bid once again for Time Warner.“This is the easiest call to make,” said industry analyst Craig Moffett, of MoffettNathanson, in a research note Thursday. “But, unfortunately, everyone already knows it, and no one knows what they will bid or whether TWC will accept.”Time Warner Cable (TWX) stock closed more than 4 percent higher on anticipation of a Charter bid.




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    Nobody can claim that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is an industry puppet anymore.Comcast's (CMCSA) spectacular failure to close its $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable undercuts the age-old Washington wisdom that money and political connections — of which Comcast (CMCSA) has a great deal — are the keys to power.But it also upends a longstanding narrative about the tendency of private sector officials like Wheeler to favor their former colleagues when they enter public service.The collapse of the Comcast (CMCSA) merger is a landmark moment for Wheeler, a former chief lobbyist for a leading cable industry association. Seventeen months into his tenure, Wheeler's FCC has emerged as one of the most aggressive regulators the industry has ever seen."It is a tribute to Tom Wheeler for demonstrating willingness to take on the politically powerful cable industry," said Andrew Schwartzman, a law scholar at Georgetown University. "There has been, and there [will] be, a lot of political heat for doing this."Many consumer advocates were on edge when Wheeler, who declined to be interviewed for this article, took office. They believed he would begin pushing policies that would benefit the industry he once represented. Instead, Wheeler took a series of surprising actions that have now culminated in the collapse of the biggest cable merger regulators have ever faced.Over a matter of months, analysts say, FCC officials effectively foreshadowed their efforts to block the Comcast (CMCSA) merger. In September, Wheeler gave a speech in which he said the country lacked sufficient competition in the broadband industry, pointing out that most people had only two providers to choose from when purchasing the fastest types of Internet service.Then, in January, the FCC raised the threshold for what is considered "high-speed" Internet. Under that new baseline, Comcast's (CMCSA) merger with Time Warner Cable (TWX) would have given it control of more than half the U.S. broadband market.The prospect of so many Internet subscribers living under one company did little to reassure regulators who worried the deal was bad for competition and not in the public interest, according to a senior FCC official.Finally, the FCC in February slapped new restrictions on Internet providers as part of its net neutrality rules, handing a major defeat to cable companies, including Comcast (CMCSA). The new rules banned broadband companies from unfairly slowing down or blocking consumers' access to Web sites. And it made it illegal to speed up Web sites in exchange for payments from content providers.Although Wheeler had previously floated a less aggressive proposal — prompting critics to accuse him of selling out — his ultimate move was far more ambitious than many expected.Given that track record, it would have been difficult for the FCC to approve the Comcast (CMCSA) merger, analysts said.Industry officials had initially hailed Wheeler's nomination in 2013 as an "exceptional choice." Comcast (CMCSA) itself commended Wheeler's "vast knowledge" and "proven leadership."But on the nation's most divisive technology questions, the results of the past year have stunned many who come into contact with the FCC. Wheeler has consistently defied categorization; people who have worked closely with him describe him as an independent thinker who does not shy away from a fight.Those who predicted Wheeler would favor industry interests "misunderstood him from the beginning — the notion that because he had represented various industries, he was suddenly in their pocket never made any sense," said one industry lawyer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he represents clients before the FCC.Wheeler, 69, does not need to seek another job when he departs the FCC, and that freedom enables him to make the decisions he thinks is right, according to people close to the chairman.On the day the FCC approved the rules, Wheeler told reporters he had made a clean break from his past as chief executive of CTIA, the top trade group for the cellular industry, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the leading association for the cable industry."When I was at CTIA and NCTA, I was an advocate for those interests and I hope I did a very good job as an advocate for them," Wheeler said. "Today, I have a different client. My client is the American people, and I want to be the best damn advocate they can get."




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    Nobody can claim that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is an industry puppet anymore.Comcast's (CMCSA) spectacular failure to close its $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable undercuts the age-old Washington wisdom that money and political connections — of which Comcast (CMCSA) has a great deal — are the keys to power.But it also upends a longstanding narrative about the tendency of private sector officials like Wheeler to favor their former colleagues when they enter public service.The collapse of the Comcast (CMCSA) merger is a landmark moment for Wheeler, a former chief lobbyist for a leading cable industry association. Seventeen months into his tenure, Wheeler's FCC has emerged as one of the most aggressive regulators the industry has ever seen."It is a tribute to Tom Wheeler for demonstrating willingness to take on the politically powerful cable industry," said Andrew Schwartzman, a law scholar at Georgetown University. "There has been, and there [will] be, a lot of political heat for doing this."Many consumer advocates were on edge when Wheeler, who declined to be interviewed for this article, took office. They believed he would begin pushing policies that would benefit the industry he once represented. Instead, Wheeler took a series of surprising actions that have now culminated in the collapse of the biggest cable merger regulators have ever faced.Over a matter of months, analysts say, FCC officials effectively foreshadowed their efforts to block the Comcast (CMCSA) merger. In September, Wheeler gave a speech in which he said the country lacked sufficient competition in the broadband industry, pointing out that most people had only two providers to choose from when purchasing the fastest types of Internet service.Then, in January, the FCC raised the threshold for what is considered "high-speed" Internet. Under that new baseline, Comcast's (CMCSA) merger with Time Warner Cable (TWX) would have given it control of more than half the U.S. broadband market.The prospect of so many Internet subscribers living under one company did little to reassure regulators who worried the deal was bad for competition and not in the public interest, according to a senior FCC official.Finally, the FCC in February slapped new restrictions on Internet providers as part of its net neutrality rules, handing a major defeat to cable companies, including Comcast (CMCSA). The new rules banned broadband companies from unfairly slowing down or blocking consumers' access to Web sites. And it made it illegal to speed up Web sites in exchange for payments from content providers.Although Wheeler had previously floated a less aggressive proposal — prompting critics to accuse him of selling out — his ultimate move was far more ambitious than many expected.Given that track record, it would have been difficult for the FCC to approve the Comcast (CMCSA) merger, analysts said.Industry officials had initially hailed Wheeler's nomination in 2013 as an "exceptional choice." Comcast (CMCSA) itself commended Wheeler's "vast knowledge" and "proven leadership."But on the nation's most divisive technology questions, the results of the past year have stunned many who come into contact with the FCC. Wheeler has consistently defied categorization; people who have worked closely with him describe him as an independent thinker who does not shy away from a fight.Those who predicted Wheeler would favor industry interests "misunderstood him from the beginning — the notion that because he had represented various industries, he was suddenly in their pocket never made any sense," said one industry lawyer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he represents clients before the FCC.Wheeler, 69, does not need to seek another job when he departs the FCC, and that freedom enables him to make the decisions he thinks is right, according to people close to the chairman.On the day the FCC approved the rules, Wheeler told reporters he had made a clean break from his past as chief executive of CTIA, the top trade group for the cellular industry, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the leading association for the cable industry."When I was at CTIA and NCTA, I was an advocate for those interests and I hope I did a very good job as an advocate for them," Wheeler said. "Today, I have a different client. My client is the American people, and I want to be the best damn advocate they can get."




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    British defense contractor BAE Systems (BAESF) on Friday, April 24, announced a strategic review of its parts of its U.S. business serving the U.S. government, bringing in external advisers and effectively putting them on the block. The businesses concerned are the U.S.-based manpower and services businesses of BAE Systems (BAESF)' U.S. intelligence and security division.

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    Cable operator Charter Communications (CHTR) backed by John Malone's Liberty Broadband. Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) is laying the groundwork for a potential bid for Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), according to people familiar with the matter, after Comcast Corp.' s deal unraveled Friday. Charter, which is backed by John Malone's Liberty Broadband, could approach Time Warner Cable with a proposal soon, the people said.

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    In 2014, many government contractors tried to better position themselves for a limited pool of federal dollars by jumping into the mergers-and-acquisitions game or spinning off divisions that were less profitable.Now buoyed by statements from President Obama and lawmakers alike that America’s defense budget needs a boost, another group is primed to join the fray: private-equity firms. That signal from Capitol Hill, along with a recovering economy with near zero percent interest rates, make this a favorable time for private equity companies to buy or sell assets, analysts say. Private equity firms are like house flippers: They typically buy companies with the goal of reshaping them by cutting costs, scaling them up in size or hiring new management, then selling them within a few years. Many equity firms own contractors that provide professional services to the government, which in turn make up a large chunk of the Washington economy. Two recent examples of strategic moves by private equity firms stand out, said Robert Kipps, managing director of KippsDeSanto, a McLean aerospace-defense investment bank. In March, Science Applications International (SAIC) spent $790 million to buy Scitor, an intelligence company owned by Leonard Green & Partners. Also that month, Maximus, a health-care contractor, bought Acentia for $300 million from Snow Phipps Group.Firms that snapped up defense companies in the late 2000s typically would have sold them in five to six years, Kipps said, but sequestration and the government shutdown made many hang on longer than usual. Leonard Green acquired Scitor in 2007, while Snow Phipps bought Acentia in 2009, making them both ripe for sale, he said.The likely buyers in this market could include large defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin (LMT) or Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), which may look for midsize, specialized companies or small businesses on the cusp of going bigger, said Pierre Chao, managing partner at Chevy Chase-based Enlightenment Capital, a private debt and equity firm that specializes in defense companies.Companies that work in high-priority areas for the government, such as cybersecurity and data analytics, will likely see more interest from buyers, he said. Both Lockheed and Booz Allen acquired a slew of midsize and smaller companies in 2014, either to gain access to a specific government agency or harness developing technology. Intense competition remains within the professional services sector. Many companies perform similar work and often compete solely on the basis of price, cutting profit margins and leading some to consider consolidating with rivals, said Randy Starr, vice president of the aerospace and defense sector at Strategy&, a consultancy. Engility’s $1.3 billion purchase of privately owned TASC was the largest of several services deals in 2014. Private equity firms will continue to be active in this space over the next year, Starr said. Washington-area service companies that are privately owned include Fairfax-based SRA International, which was bought by Providence Equity Partners in 2011, and McLean-based Dyncorp International, owned by Cerberus Capital Management. Neither company has publicly stated that it is looking for buyers, but both have reorganized in recent years, cutting costs, shuffling business units and changing leadership teams.




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    - Charter Communications Inc (CHTR) representatives have reached out to Time Warner Cable to begin discussions on a potential merger, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday. Earlier Comcast Corp (CMCSA) abandoned a $45 billion offer for Time Warner Cable after U.S. regulators raised concerns that the deal would give Comcast (CMCSA) an unfair advantage in the cable TV and Internet-based services market.

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    Charter Communications Inc (CHTR) representatives have reached out to Time Warner Cable to begin discussions on a potential merger, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday. Earlier Comcast Corp (CMCSA) abandoned a $45 billion offer for Time Warner Cable after U.S. regulators raised concerns that the deal would give Comcast (CMCSA) an unfair advantage in the cable TV and Internet-based services market.

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    By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Angela Chen. The deal addresses an activist investor's call for Houghton Mifflin to make better use of its balance sheet. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Co. (HMHC) has agreed to buy Scholastic Corp.' s educational technology business for $575 million in cash, addressing an activist investor's call last year for the publisher and education content company to make better use of its balance sheet.

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    Shares of LookSmart (LOOK) are surging higher by 28.75% to $2.06 on very heavy volume in mid-afternoon trading on Friday, following the digital advertising solutions company's announcement that it will merge with the privately held Pyxis Tankers Inc. and spin off its existing business into a new entity called LookSmart Group Inc. Pyxis Tankers is a newly formed maritime transportation company that foc...

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    Charter Communications Inc's (CHTR) advisers are in early talks to buy Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC), Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Earlier on Friday, Comcast Corp abandoned its $45 billion offer for Time Warner Cable after U.S. regulators raised concerns that the deal would give Comcast an unfair advantage in the cable TV and Internet-based services market.

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    For a very long time, Al Franken was a very lonely man on the subject of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (TWX) merger. He was the only senator to immediately and staunchly oppose the planned merger between the two companies. Now Franken can take the congressional version of a victory lap.

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    Shares of ARRIS Group (ARRS) were falling 5.3% to $35.33 on heavy trading volume Friday, giving back some gains after the telecommunications equipment company announced it will acquire English set-top box maker Pace plc (PCMXF). About 4 million shares of ARRIS were traded by 1:15 p.m. Friday, above the company's average trading volume of about 1.9 million shares a day.

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    Looking for yield? What dividend investors are most focused on in earnings is growth. With that in mind, here are the three best S&P 500 dividend stocks to post results so far for the first quarter of 2015. 1. Hasbro   . Hasbro posted better-than-expected quarterly results on Monday.