PRESS DIGEST- New York Times business news - May 7

Reuters

May 7 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the New York Times business pages. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group (IPO-ALIB.N) filed paperwork on Tuesday in the United States to sell stock to the public for the first time. The company is expected to raise $15 billion to $20 billion, which would make it the biggest American IPO since Facebook Inc's $16 billion offering in May 2012. (http://r.reuters.com/ted29v)

* Yahoo Inc most likely will receive $10 billion to $15 billion for the 9 percent stake that it is required to sell in Alibaba Group. The Chinese e-commerce company's IPO will bring an end to the long honeymoon of Yahoo's chief executive, Marissa Mayer. She will have to prove to Wall Street that she has a viable plan to save Yahoo and will use the Alibaba windfall wisely. (http://r.reuters.com/rud29v)

* German drug-maker Bayer AG said it has agreed to acquire Merck & Co Inc's consumer care business for $14.2 billion, a deal that will make Bayer one of the largest providers of over-the-counter products. Bayer gains control of several well-known brand names, including Claritin, Coppertone and Dr. Scholl's. (http://r.reuters.com/sud29v)

* Walt Disney Co reported net income for its second quarter of $1.92 billion, or $1.08 per share, an increase of 27 percent. No single business or entertainment offering was responsible for Disney's overall spike in profit, although the runaway success of "Frozen" may have been the largest contributor. (http://r.reuters.com/xud29v)

* The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has fined Morgan Stanley $5 million, saying that the firm did not follow proper procedures in the initial public offerings for 83 companies including Facebook Inc and Yelp Inc. (http://r.reuters.com/byd29v)

* Two senior partners in Apollo Global Management's private equity division, Stan Parker and Jordan Zaken, plan to leave the firm. They would be following Ali Rashid, another senior partner who quietly left this year. The departures of these three partners underscore the growing pains that Apollo is facing as it adjusts to life as a publicly traded company. (http://r.reuters.com/fyd29v)

* The new Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles laid out an ambitious business plan on Tuesday that relies heavily on growing sales of its Jeep sport utility vehicles. Mike Manley, chief of the Jeep division, said Fiat Chrysler expects to sell one million Jeeps this year - a significant increase from the 800,000 the company had projected. (http://r.reuters.com/kyd29v)

* Shares of Twitter Inc went into free fall on Tuesday as early investors became eligible to sell their shares on the market for the first time. The company's shares dropped 17.8 percent, to close at $31.85, their lowest level since the company's initial public offering in November. (http://r.reuters.com/myd29v)

* General Electric Co's $13.5 billion bid for the power generation and transmission units of the French company Alstom poses a grave challenge for Siemens AG. While the French government last week indicated that it preferred the Siemens bid, President Fran├žois Hollande now seems mainly trying to induce a better offer from G.E. (http://r.reuters.com/pyd29v)

* General Motors Co is recalling about 56,000 Saturn Aura sedans from the 2007-8 model years because a transmission shifter cable could break, which would keep the driver from being able to shift the transmission into park. The company said it was aware of 28 crashes and four injuries related to the defect over the last seven years. (http://r.reuters.com/ryd29v)

* The United States trade deficit narrowed in March to $40.4 billion, down 3.6 percent from a revised February imbalance of $41.9 billion, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday. The February trade gap was the biggest in five months. Exports rebounded to the second-highest level on record, led by strong gains in sales of aircraft, autos and farm goods. (http://r.reuters.com/tyd29v)

* AstraZeneca PLC, the British drug maker, on Tuesday made an impassioned defense for itself as a stand-alone company, just a day after the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc again pressed its case for a $106 billion takeover offer. AstraZeneca's Chief Executive Pascal Soriot called his company's pipeline of drugs in development one of the best in the industry and said the talent it had acquired and the restructuring it had undergone in the last 18 months made a strong case for remaining on its own. (http://r.reuters.com/wyd29v)

* Office Depot Inc said it would close at least 400 stores because its merger with OfficeMax Inc resulted in overlapping locations. The company had about 1,900 stores in the United States at the end of the first quarter. (http://r.reuters.com/zyd29v)

* Whole Foods Market Inc cut its profit outlook for the third time in recent months on Tuesday, signaling the intensifying competition the grocery chain is facing in the market for organic and natural foods. Whole Foods now expects to earn $1.52 to $1.56 per share this year, down from its previous forecast of $1.58 to $1.65 per share. (http://r.reuters.com/baf29v) (Compiled by Ankush Sharma in Bangalore)

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