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Updated: Nov 16 2012, 09:32am hrs
Switzerlands Maus Freres laps up Lacoste

Lacoste SA, the French classic fashion brand that bears the crocodile symbol, has been acquired fully by the Swiss family-held group Maus Freres, the buyer said on Thursday. The deal, which follows a Lacoste family feud over management, valued the French sportswear maker at 1 billion euros, Maus Freres said in a statement issued in Geneva. All Lacoste family shareholders have decided to sell the totality of their shares to Maus Freres, which already held 35% of Lacoste capital via its subsidiary Devanlay, it said regarding the brand founded by tennis man Rene Lacoste.

Starbucks plans to buy tea store chain Teavana

Starbucks Corp said on Wednesday it plans to buy tea store chain Teavana Holdings Inc for $620 million, aiming to replicate the success it has had with its namesake coffee shops. Teavana has about 300 shopping mall stores that sell loose-leaf, exotic teas. In addition to opening stand-alone Teavana stores in the US and abroad, Starbucks will add tea bars that serve prepared drinks in existing Teavana stores, Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz told Reuters. Starbucks opened its first espresso bar inside a store in 1987, when it had 11 stores selling only whole bean coffee. We will do something very similar over time with Teavana, said Schultz, who now oversees about 18,000 Starbucks stores around the world. The deal marks the third complementary acquisition over the past year from Starbucks , which is looking for new avenues of growth beyond its core coffee business.

Walmart grapples with slow sales gains

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the worlds largest retailer, forecast profit this year that trailed some analysts estimates after difficult economic conditions slowed sales gains at established US stores in the third quarter. Profit this year will be $4.88 to $4.93 per share, the company said in a statement. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was $4.94. CEO Mike Duke has been reducing prices to lure US shoppers that are still suffering amid sluggish economic growth and 7.9% unemployment. Discount chains such as Dollar General Corp and Dollar Tree Inc have attracted some of those customers with smaller-format stores that allow for quicker trips and by adding food items.

FERC suspends JPMorgan units trading authority

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission yesterday suspended a JPMorgan Chase & Co units electrical-trading authority, saying it had filed false information to regulators. The action, part of a more aggressive effort by the commission to monitor US power markets, prohibits J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp. from selling electricity at market-based rates for six months starting April 1, 2013. The FERC said the company made factual misrepresentations and omitted material information in communications with the California Independent System Operator, or Caiso, and in filings to the commission. Caiso operates the states power grid.

Hostess seeks approval to wind up operations

Hostess Brands Inc said it will ask a US bankruptcy judge for permission to liquidate if enough striking workers do not return to work by the end of Thursday to let the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread resume normal operations. Wednesday's announcement escalates a bitter dispute between the 82-year-old company and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, whose members constitute about one-third of Hostess nearly 18,000 employees. The spokesperson was unavailable for comment.