November 9, 2009 / 6:04 AM / 9 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Nov 9

Nov 9 (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.

* Companies that cater to consumers believe that customers are digging in for a long, frugal winter. Despite signs of recovery in housing, manufacturing and auto sales, consumers remain spooked by 10.2 percent unemployment.

* General Electric Co (GE.N) and Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) have agreed to value NBC Universal in the neighborhood of $30 billion, a development that could lead to a deal this week for Comcast to take control of GE’s media and entertainment arm.

* Kraft Foods Inc KFT.N is expected Monday to officially launch a hostile bid for Cadbury Plc CBRY.L, setting in motion a tussle for control of the British confectionary firm.

* Over nearly a year of battles with U.S. regulators and investigators, Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis gradually lost control of a bank he had worked at for 40 years.

* British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner clashed over potential taxes on bank transactions at a meeting of finance policymakers from the Group of 20 leading economies.

* U.S. President Barack Obama’s health-care bill faces an uncertain Senate battle after the House passed the measure by a 220-215 vote.

* Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) agreed to sell its TASC consulting unit to private-equity firms General Atlantic LLC and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co [KKR.UL] for $1.65 billion, the latest in a flurry of deals signaling the return of leveraged buyouts after a two-year dormant stretch.

* Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N) and its partners are preparing to pump at least $1 billion more into Clearwire Corp, adding yet more aid to a wireless broadband firm that has struggled to build out its next-generation network.

* Tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc RAI.N is in advanced talks to buy a Swedish maker of products that help people stop smoking, a move that could signal a profound shift in direction in the global tobacco industry.

* Wall Street firms that agreed to pay $100 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them of propping up American Business Financial Services Inc had doubts about the subprime lender’s business practices long before it collapsed, according to court documents.

* Auto seating supplier Lear Corp plans to emerge from bankruptcy protection Monday with a message from Chief Executive Bob Rossiter: “We are a tighter, leaner company that will never make some of the mistakes we made in the past.”

* Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) and L.L. Bean Inc are just some of the companies that have flooded the Supreme Court with advice as it prepares for Monday’s arguments over one of the biggest questions involving intellectual property: When can a business method be patented?

* Standard & Poor’s has begun estimating potential losses on certain battered residential-mortgage bonds, responding to criticism by banks, insurers and some regulators that its junk ratings are too broad.

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