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    LOS ANGELES-- General Electric Co. (GE) is in discussions to buy French industrial firm Alstom SA (AOMFF), a report from Bloomberg said late Wednesday. Quoting unnamed sources, Bloomberg said the deal may be worth more than $13 billion, or roughly 25% above Alstom's (AOMFF) current market value. Known for its high-speed trains, Alstom (AOMFF) has been cutting costs in recent weeks, announcing earlier this month that it planned to cut 200 jobs at facilities in France and Spain.

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    Apple Inc. (AAPL) reported a 7% increase in quarterly profit, amid intensifying competition for mobile devices, and announced increases to its stock buyback and dividend programs. Apple (AAPL) increased its share repurchase authorization to $90 billion from the $60 billion level announced last year. The company also increased its quarterly dividend by about 8% and said it will split its stock 7- for-1 in June.

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    For Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, who wants to build the world's largest mobile Internet company, criticism of his operations from regulators in his home market could not come at a worse time. The feisty entrepreneur is lobbying sceptical Washington officials to let him buy a second U.S. mobile operator, saying he would help to break up a cozy U.S. wireless oligopoly.

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    By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, April 23- Canada's main stock index edged lower on Wednesday, with gains from some big energy producers offset by dips in heavyweight banks and a pullback in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX) shares after an acquisition-backed bump. Suncor Energy Inc (SU) gained 2.6 percent to C $41.37 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ) added...

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    Mexican telecommunications company America Movil said on Wednesday it would pay 7.15 euros a share for the rest of Telekom Austria's stock still in circulation. America Movil, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, and the Austrian government earlier signed a deal to pool their stakes in Telekom Austria, paving the way for Slim to take control of the company.

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    EMC Corp (EMC), the world's largest maker of data storage equipment, reported a better-than-expected quarterly revenue, but its shares fell after majority-owned software maker VMware Inc (VMW) reported weak growth in bookings. VMware (VMW), in which EMC (EMC) owns an 80 percent stake, said on Tuesday there had been a delay in closing some large contracts in the first quarter, overshadowing better-than-expected results.

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    * Scope for deals in consumer goods sector. * Asset swaps avoid merger pitfalls. By Ben Hirschler, Martinne Geller and Anjuli Davies. The loud welcome given by investors to this week's deal for Novartis (NVS) and GlaxoSmithKline to trade more than $20 billion of assets could trigger more pacts in the pharmaceuticals sector and beyond.

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    Tycoon Carlos Slim stumbled in his bid for control of Telekom Austria on Wednesday, as a meeting designed to rubber-stamp a co-ownership deal with the Austrian government was boycotted by labor representatives unhappy with the proposal.

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    Smart glasses and wearable visual computing continue to attract capital, with software developer APX Labs raising $10 million from New Enterprise Associates, in a deal announced Tuesday. APX's Skylight software platform allows smart glasses such as Google's (GOOG)  Google Glass or Epson America's Moverio to integrate data and content from corporate systems developed by SAP  Microsoft and others.

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    Volkswagen's (VLKAF) 6.7 billion pursuit of Scania remained stuck in the slow lane as another shareholder in the Swedish truckmaker on Wednesday, April 23, voiced its opposition to the deal. Shareholders have until Friday to accept the 200 Swedish kronor a share offer, which Volkswagen (VLKAF) will only pursue if it secures 90% acceptances.

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    Social network giant Facebook Inc (FB) has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy Oculus VR Inc, a two-year-old maker of virtual reality goggles, the Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday. Facebook (FB) said on March 25 that it planned to buy Oculus for $2 billion in its first-ever hardware deal.

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     The Permian Basin is "so, so big," TheStreet's Jim Cramer, co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, said on CNBC's "Cramer Stop Trading" segment. Two companies that are best positioned to take advantage of the Permian Basin are Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) and Concho Resources (CXO), Concho is particularly interesting because it is undervalued and will go higher, he said.

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    The European Commission said on Wednesday it is investigating plans by Mexican cement company Cemex to buy the Spanish operations of its Swiss rival Holcim (HCMLF) because of competition issues. "The Commission has concerns that the transaction may reduce competition in certain areas of Spain where the two companies' activities overlap," the EU executive said in a statement.

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    * Stake sale comes ahead of bigger than expected rights issue. * Fintech Advisory now Monte Paschi's biggest shareholder. * Monte Paschi increased size of rights issue to 5 bln euros.

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    By Lauren Tara LaCapra. Goldman Sachs Group Inc's (GS) asset-management business has agreed to buy Westpeak Global Advisors, a firm that aims to beat market indexes by using factors other than company size to pick stock investments. The deal, disclosed on Tuesday, comes as Goldman is working to bulk up its asset management unit, partly by strengthening its quantitative product offerings.

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    PTT Exploration and Production Pcl, Thailand's top oil and gas explorer, has bought Hess Corp's (HES) assets in Thailand in a $1 billion deal as part of its attempt to boost its gas business, the company's CEO said on Wednesday. "The deal is worth $1 billion. Hess, based in New York, said it would use the proceeds to purchase its shares under a $4 billion share buyback program.