PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Jan 4

Reuters

Feb 4 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Ten big drug companies that have spent billions racing one another to find breakthroughs on diseases like Alzheimer's have formed an unusual pact to cooperate on a government-backed effort to accelerate the discovery of new medicines. ()

* American companies are struggling with falling prices for a number of their key products amid intense competition and pressure from cost-conscious customers. Corporate revenues are showing the strain, whether from lower prices, weak demand or a combination of the two. ()

* The head of the nation's top telecommunications regulator conveyed skepticism about further consolidation in the wireless industry during a meeting with Sprint Corp board members on Monday, a person briefed on the meeting said. ()

* Revelations about NSA eavesdropping have given foreign governments an opening to restrict U.S.-based IT companies, which are being depicted as either too compliant with or complicit in the spying. ()

* Hewlett-Packard Co said it found major accounting errors in an audit of the 2010 financial statements of UK software maker Autonomy, the first significant evidence backing up HP's claim that Autonomy inflated its revenue and profit before the U.S. company acquired it. ()

* As Panasonic's vaunted television business fades, a string of lesser-known niche businesses-such as solar panels and airplane entertainment systems-are rising to take its place.

* Walt Disney's interactive-media unit is preparing to lay off several hundred people despite a strong launch for its videogame "Infinity." ()

* Heidrick & Struggles International Inc chose former Goldman Sachs Group Inc partner Tracy R. Wolstencroft as its first outside chief executive, concluding an unusually long search by the big executive-search company. ()

* A new Pew Research survey on Facebook Inc users, released 10 years after the social network's founding, sheds new light on how relationships are changing in the age of social media. While there are more people than ever using Facebook, only a small percentage of users are sharing details about their lives every day. ()

* U.S. regulators plan to require auto makers to equip new cars and trucks with technology that allows vehicles to communicate with each other to avoid crashes. ()

* Barrick Gold Corp and Goldcorp Inc the world's largest gold miners, are close to selling their jointly owned Marigold mine in Nevada for more than $250 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. ()

* Western Union Co will remain under the supervision of a monitor and faces the possibility of new financial penalties after Arizona's attorney general said the money-transfer company had failed to put in place sufficient controls to prevent money laundering. ()

* America's dominant tobacco company is getting serious about electronic cigarettes. Marlboro cigarette maker Altria Group Inc said Monday it will buy e-cigarette upstart Green Smoke Inc for $110 million in the latest sign the battery-powered devices are moving from fad to mainstay and pose a rising competitive threat to traditional smokes. ()

* Volkswagen AG is going to allow employees at its Chattanooga, Tennesse, plant to vote later this month on whether to unionize under an agreement it worked out with the United Auto Workers union. ()

* January's severe cold spell in the United States punished auto sales with industry volume falling for the first time since September and most major auto makers blaming the harsh weather for temporarily depressing vehicle demand. ()

* Duke Energy Corp on Monday said it is in talks to buy certain generating assets from a power utility in North Carolina. ()

* Intel Corp unveiled a series of changes to its executive compensation structure Monday, including boosting the number of management employees required to own stock. ()

* Lockheed Martin Corp is launching a new civilian version of its C-130J Super Hercules military cargo aircraft that a senior executive said could be available for energy and mining companies to supply remote areas with personnel and equipment by 2018. ()

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