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    Here are some factors that may affect Middle East stock markets on Tuesday. INTERNATIONAL/REGIONAL. * GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks steady after China stimulus, euro hurt by Greek woes. * Oil prices ease as U.S. stockpiles seen rising. * PRECIOUS-Gold holds losses below $1,200 on stronger dollar. * MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi Arabia slips, other Gulf markets rise. * Middle East Crude-Chinaoil buying supports.

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    Australia's antitrust watchdog on Tuesday began a review of oilfield services firm Halliburton Co's (HAL) takeover of rival Baker Hughes Inc (BHI), aiming to issue a decision or outline any concerns about the deal by July 9. Both companies provide services, technology and systems to the oil and gas industry in Australia, and Halliburton (HAL) also owns Mintech Chemical Industries while Baker Hughes (BHI) owns consulta...

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    * Hong Kong block deals have more than tripled this year. * BBVA expected to sell stake in CITIC Bank - sources. * Hang Seng seen selling Industrial Bank shares -sources. * Goldman Sachs is top underwriter of Hong Kong blocks. * Deals getting done at tighter discounts - bankers. By Denny Thomas and Elzio Barreto.

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    Venezuela would prefer oil company Harvest Natural Resources Inc (HNR) to leave the OPEC nation, but wants it to sell a project stake to a company with financial muscle to make major investments, state oil company PDVSA said. Harvest has been seeking to sell its stake in joint venture Petrodelta following years complaining that PDVSA is not allowing it to collect dividends.

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    The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. The Times. * Lloyds bosses caught on the hop by 4 bln pounds share offer. Lloyds Banking Group (LYG) was left scrambling at the weekend to respond to Conservative plans to offer the public the chance to buy up to 4 billion pounds of the taxpayer-backed lender's shares should the Tories win the election.

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    Bethesda Magazine said Monday it has purchased three-year-old Bethesda Now online news site for an undisclosed amount, allowing the magazine to expand its footprint in lower Montgomery County.When the deal closes May 6, the magazine will merge Bethesda Now into its year-old online daily news site known as Bethesda Beat. As part of the acquisition, Bethesda Now will cease operation and its editor Aaron Kraut will join the staff of the new owner. “By acquiring Bethesda Now and folding it into Bethesda Beat, we are going to be able to cover more things and cover more things in greater depth,” said Bethesda Magazine founder Steve Hull.Hull said the number of daily Web posts will increase from about five currently to eight per day.Hull launched the Bethesda Magazine 11 years ago as a local glossy lifestyle magazine exclusively focused on lower Montgomery County, home to some of Washington’s wealthiest suburbs.Scott Brodbeck, founder of Local News Now, said he will reboot Borderstan.com, which covers Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and U Street neighborhoods of Washington.“We are relaunching it as a local news site covering those areas plus Columbia Heights,” Brodbeck said.Bethesda Now launched more than two years ago as a local journalism news site covering the upscale Bethesda neighborhoods. Bethesda Magazine followed soon after with its own online site.Brodbeck said his five-year-old company, which began with a business model for online local news, is increasing revenue and is profitable.Brodbeck said Kraut’s departure will leave seven employees with Local News Now.




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    NEW YORK – Private equity firm Permira is to sell the company which markets Birds Eye branded frozen foods in Britain to London-listed cash shell Nomad Holdings (NOMHF) in a deal that values Iglo Foods Group at 2.6 billion euros, or $2.79 billion.

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    AbbVie  extended its $19.8 billion tender offer for Pharmacyclics  to gain antitrust approval with a refiling for the deal.The cash and stock exchange offer announced March 4 is still expected to close in the second quarter, which is what the companies projected when the merger was announced. Read more from:

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    Hedge fund manager David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital has taken a fresh stake in General Motors Co (GM), nearly a year after exiting its position in the automaker, the firm said in a letter to clients on Monday.

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    Cirque du Soleil, whose passel of acrobatic theatrical productions include those centered around the Beatles and Michael Jackson, is the latest live entertainment and events company to tumble into the M&A landscape. A TPG Capital-led investor group has acquired a majority stake in the Canadian entertainment company, it said Monday.

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    By Anora Mahmudova and Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch. Hasbro (HAS) gains after beating earnings expectations. U.S. stocks rallied on Monday, posting their biggest advance in three weeks, as better-than-expected earnings from companies helped deliver a dollop of confidence to global-equity markets after a rout in stocks on Friday.

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    Sentiment may start to change about the energy sector, owing to a rise in crude oil prices. While the Houston-based company has made the best of a bad situation, resulting in revenue and earnings in the last quarter of fiscal 2014 that topped the projections of analysts polled by Bloomberg, things have changed.

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    A Delaware judge found an affiliate of El Paso Corp liable for $171 million for overpaying in a pipeline deal, a ruling that could bolster the legal power of investors in an increasingly popular investment vehicle used in the energy sector. The judgment is one of the largest from the Delaware Court of Chancery, which is among the country's busiest venues for investor lawsuits.

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    Comcast's (CMCSA) massive $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable (TWX) appears headed into rocky regulatory waters this week in the wake of reports that the Justice Department isn't sold on the idea — and in fact, the agency could have some serious questions about it. Could this lead to the merger's demise? Here's what we know so far.What's up with Comcast?The company's proposed merger with Time Warner Cable (TWX) is coming under intensifying scrutiny from federal officials whose job it is to determine if a merger will be good or bad for consumers. Some of these experts in the Justice Department are reportedly "leaning against" approving the merger, according to Bloomberg. And on Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Comcast (CMCSA) will be meeting with DOJ officials Wednesday to discuss what the company would have to do to get the government's blessing.This is no ordinary merger. It's one of the biggest deals we've ever seen in telecom and media — and how it fares will have huge implications for the way we get online and watch TV. At a time when all our entertainment is converging on the Internet, we're talking about the creation of one enormous player with control over millions of Americans' access to the Web, and to the content they see there.Remember that Comcast (CMCSA) was part of another mega-deal just four years ago when it bought NBC Universal. If that deal was about gaining better access to content, this one is all about gaining better access to more households — and possibly using that combo as a way to put pressure on other companies in various industries that rely on Comcast (CMCSA), or compete with Comcast.What happens if DOJ rejects the deal?Well, the Justice Department is only one of two agencies that must sign off on the merger before it can go through. The nation's top telecom regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, also has to give the green light.The Justice Department, in merger reviews, looks at a deal's effect on competition and antitrust concerns. That's a pretty narrowly defined mission. But the historic nature of the merger, and its potential to radically change the relationship between the cable industry and others, may be encouraging regulators to broaden and deepen their inquiries.If the government files suit to block the merger, that would amount to a huge headache for Comcast (CMCSA): For more than a year, the company has argued that the merger would lead to faster Internet service and a better TV experience. Even if the deal goes to court, Comcast (CMCSA) could fight the lawsuit or try to negotiate with the government in an effort to save the merger. "We continue to believe that our transaction with Time Warner Cable (TWX) will bring substantial benefits to consumers without any competitive harms," Comcast (CMCSA) said in a statement. "We will continue to engage in our productive discussions with the government and do not see any value in commenting on rumors and speculation." Why is the deal such a… big deal, anyway?The Comcast-TWC merger would join the country's two largest cable companies, adding millions of subscribers to Comcast's (CMCSA) rolls and making it an even bigger player in video and Internet access.The deal would give Comcast (CMCSA) control of nearly 34 million TV subscribers and 32 million broadband customers. Nationally, Comcast (CMCSA) would account for a third of the pay-TV market and 57 percent of the broadband market, according to the Journal.Critics of the deal say that's far too big. Comcast's (CMCSA) expansion into more households would give it vast power in negotiations with content partners and other set-top box makers, they argue. Those third parties would face a choice: Bend to Comcast's (CMCSA) terms or risk losing access to the single biggest chunk of viewers and Internet users in America.Why is the Justice Department concerned?Between Comcast's (CMCSA) potential power over other industry players that are crucial to your Internet and TV experience — Apple, for instance, or Netflix (NFLX), or Disney (DIS) which owns ABC and ESPN — and the company's sheer reach in its own industry, regulators seem skeptical of Comcast's (CMCSA) argument that the deal won't have any anti-competitive effects.One way that's played out is in a discussion about how to talk about competition. Comcast (CMCSA) has argued that it doesn't have a presence where Time Warner Cable (TWX) does — so its taking over TWC wouldn't eliminate a competitor from a given market and therefore shouldn't raise competitive concerns.But other economists say it's not enough to look at what'll happen in a local market; you have to look at the merger from a national perspective. And for the reasons above, they argue, the Justice Department and FCC should study not just how the merger affects Comcast's (CMCSA) position within the cable industry, but also Comcast's (CMCSA) relationships to other industries, as well.Is there anything Comcast (CMCSA) can do about DOJ's concerns?Comcast (CMCSA) has already offered to make some concessions, such as shedding customers to avoid having too much sway in one market. They're also set to meet with regulators on Wednesday to discuss those potential conditions. But according to the Wall Street Journal story, Comcast (CMCSA) hasn't met with the Justice Department since it announced the merger more than a year ago, which suggests DOJ may not be interested in the concessions Comcast (CMCSA) is offering. (Update: A source close to the negotiations says Comcast (CMCSA) has been meeting with DOJ officials "all along — pretty much nearly every week.")Another potentially troubling indicator for the merger? The companies' stock prices. With deals like these, the involved companies' stock prices tend to converge as the deal approval nears. But that hasn't happened in the case of Comcast-TWC, perhaps a sign that stock traders and analysts are worried the deal won't be approved.In a recent blog post, Comcast (CMCSA) said it hopes to receive a decision on the deal by mid-year.