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    BEIJING-- China's securities regulator has been consulting with large securities firms and fund companies regarding the proposed acquisition of a leading financial-software provider by Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, sources with knowledge of the matter said. Zhejiang Rongxin Network Technology Co. Ltd., in which Ma holds a 99.1% stake, proposed buying all of Hangzhou Hundsun Technologies Group Co.. The latter controls 20.62% of...

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    Bank of New York Mellon Corp (BK), the world's largest custody bank, is working with Goldman Sachs Inc to find buyers for its corporate trust arm, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The unit, which helps companies process payments on debt they issue, could fetch at least $2.5 billion, according to one of the people quoted in the report.

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    Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/A) , said on Wednesday the company's BNSF railroad unit probably will not need to expand its rail car purchases as a result of delays in the Keystone pipeline construction. In addition, he said that the rail industry as a whole remains concerned about safety after a recent string of accidents.

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    SAN FRANCISCO-- Apple Inc. (AAPL) surprised investors with a huge increase in its stock buyback program and 7- for-1 stock split, the kind of shareholder-friendly move corporate noisemaker Carl Icahn has been clamoring for. But don't count on Icahn, the billionaire investor who held 4.7 million shares of Apple (AAPL) stock as of a February filing, to back off just yet. On its conference call with investors, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said that the size of the company's capital return program...

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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.