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Updated: Dec 8 2012, 09:07am hrs
Investindustrial confirms Aston Martin stake buy

Italian private equity fund Investindustrial has signed a deal to buy 37.5% of Aston Martin Lagonda from its Kuwaiti owner Investment Dar. Investindustrial is investing 150 million pounds ($241 million) in Aston Martin in the form of a capital increase, said the British car-maker on Friday. Aston Martin, whose cars became famed for their starring role in James Bond films, said the deal would enable it to invest more than half a billion pounds in new products and a technology programme over the next five years. The British company said the deal gave the group an enterprise value of 780 million pounds, compared to a value of 630 million pounds prior to the agreement. It added that no agreement had been made on a technical partnership for Aston Martin with Daimler AG's Mercedes, as some analysts had expected. Investindustrial said in a statement its stake would come with proportional voting rights and that it expected to receive clearance from competition bodies in the first quarter of 2013. The Italian group beat Indian tractor maker Mahindra and Mahindra in a two-way battle to invest in the British sportscar maker. Sources told Reuters on Thursday night that Investindustrial was close to sealing a deal.

US court to hear Guptas plea on expedited basis

India-born former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Guptas appeal against his conviction on insider trading charges will be taken up on an expedited basis by a US court, which said it will hear arguments in the case as early as April next year. The US Court of ppeals for the Second Circuit here said that briefs by Gupta on his appeal should be filed by January 18 next year while the governments motion should be submitted in court by March 15. Gupta, 64, would then have time till March 29 to reply to the government's motion after which a two-judge panel of Jose Cabranes and Reena Raggi in the appeals court would hear oral arguments in the case on or after the week of April 1.

Facebook in talks to buy Microsoft ad technology

Facebook Inc is in negotiations with Microsoft Corp about acquiring advertising technology that could allow the social network displays ads on other websites, broadly expanding its advertising business, according to media reports on Thursday. Facebook is in serious discussions with Microsoft about a deal to purchase Atlas Solutions, an ad-serving product that Microsoft acquired through its $6-billion acquisition of aQuantive in 2007, according to reports in the technology blogs Business Insider and AllThingsDigital on Thursday. The deal could allow Facebook to significantly expand its advertising business by showing ads on third-party websites, mounting a challenge to Google Inc's DoubleClick ad network, said the reports, which cited anonymous sources.

Bundesbank slashes 2013 German growth forecast

The Bundesbank sliced more than 1 percentage point off its forecast for economic expansion in Germany next year after the sovereign debt crisis pushed the euro area into recession and global growth slowed. The Bundesbank cut its 2013 projection to 0.4% from the 1.6% predicted in June and said the economy, Europes largest, will grow 0.7% this year, down from its previous forecast of 1%. The economy will contract in the fourth quarter and stagnate in the first, the Frankfurt-based central bank said. It will recover to expand 1.9% in 2014, according to the new forecasts. The Bundesbank isnt as negative as the 2013 growth forecast suggests, said Alexander Koch, an economist at Unicredit Group in Munich. The predicted contraction in the fourth quarter has a big impact on next years growth rate. In fact, the forecasts suggest the Bundesbank expects a recovery from spring leading to relatively strong growth in 2014.

ArcelorMittal pulls French bid for EU steel project

A politically charged deal between the French government and ArcelorMittal to preserve jobs at an ailing steelworks looked at risk of unravelling on Thursday after the global steel giant ditched a bid to run an EU-funded project there. ArcelorMittal withdrew an application to use the Florange site in northern France for an EU green steel pilot project that Paris had hoped could keep two idled blast furnaces going.