March 17, 2008 / 7:03 AM / 11 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - March 17

March 17 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Bear Stearns BSC.N reached a deal to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) for just $2 a share, or $236 million, amid fears that failing to find a buyer could deepen Wall Street’s crisis of confidence.

* In a simultaneous move, the Federal Reserve announced one of the broadest expansions of its lending authority since the 1930s, in an effort to stem a credit crisis that is engulfing the financial system and threatening a deep recession.

* Citigroup Inc (C.N) Chief Executive Vikram Pandit is installing a longtime lieutenant to lead the company’s investment-banking division, according to people familiar with the matter. The promotion of John Havens, who will continue to run the alternative-investments group, is expected to be announced.

* German engineering giant Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE) issued a profit warning, estimating that weaker-than-expected performance in major business projects would drag down earnings in the current fiscal quarter by about 900 million euros ($1.4 billion).

* Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) is reconsidering some of its operating plans in the wake of maintenance lapses, from the pace of retiring old jetliners to outsourcing maintenance overseas.

* Deutsche Telekom AG (DTEGn.DE) is close to buying at least a 20 percent stake in Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTEr.AT), in a deal that could be worth about $3 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

* Chicago Mercantile Exchange operator CME Group Inc CME.N moved closer to an agreement to acquire Nymex Holdings Inc NMX.N, a $9.3 billion deal that expands the CME into energy trading while underscoring the importance of technology to exchanges.

* Mexican television giant Grupo Televisa (TLVACPO.MX) and Telemundo, General Electric Spanish-language broadcaster, have reached a content-sharing deal in Mexico, opening the door to an eventual broader alliance in the key U.S. Hispanic market, people familiar with the situation say.

* Visa Inc’s plans to raise $17 billion this week in the largest-ever U.S. IPO is expected to be a hit with investors, but it isn’t likely to turn a moribund issuance market into a hotbed of activity.

* Alitalia AZPIa.MI board agreed to a deal to be acquired by Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) for a lower-than-expected price of about 819 million euros, underscoring the Italian carrier’s strained financial condition. The deal to save Alitalia still must overcome a number of hurdles.

* Carlyle Capital Corp announced late yesterday that it would wind down operations and liquidate the remaining assets in its mortgage fund.

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