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Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. are in advanced talks to merge, in a tie-up that would cap off the strongest year ever for takeovers and come amid a surge of deal activity in the agriculture industry.

The chemical giants, which each has a market capitalization of about $60 billion, could announce a merger in coming days, people familiar with the matter said. It would be followed by a three-way breakup of the combined company, they said, a common approach to mergers and acquisitions of late.

Dow’s Continue reading

Alphabet Inc. is making its biggest bet yet on spreading connectivity across the U.S., through its newly independent fiber business.

Google Fiber, Alphabet’s

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 fast Internet service, said Tuesday it is planning to come to Los Angeles and Chicago, the second and third-largest U.S. cities by population, if they pass a long review.

“While we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to bring Fiber to Chicago and L.A., this is a big step for these cities and their leaders,” Jill Szuchmacher, director of Google Fiber’s expansion efforts, wrote in a blog. “Expansion planning for a project of this size is a huge undertaking.”

There are now 20 cities where Google Fiber is providing service already, building its network or considering building, including Atlanta and Austin. The 20 metro areas contain about 5% of the total U.S. population and include six of the 10 largest U.S. cities by population. Its expansion plans have become a lot more aggressive since Google re-organized itself into the Alphabet holding company earlier this year. The goal is to give newer businesses more freedom to invest while making them more accountable for their financial performance.

“Google Fiber looking at big cities is a sign of greater aggressiveness, “ said Blair Levin, who led broadband Internet initiatives at the Federal Communications Commission for several years. “It is ultimately going to have to stand on its on two feet, without the support it previously required from Alphabet. To do that, it needs a certain scale that requires a presence in a number of bigger cities.”

An expanded version of this report appears at

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Volkswagen AG’s emissions-cheating scandal burst into public view a few months ago and since has consumed its dealings with regulators, customers and investors, but its issues with regulatory compliance go far back.

In 2004 the auto maker’s U.S. environmental-compliance employees alerted their bosses in Germany that they needed to tell regulators about a faulty emissions part. The Germans’ response: don’t.

Dozens of cars from Volkswagen’s

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DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., the family entertainment studio known for movies like "Shrek" and "The Croods," said it is launching a live-action television division as it continues to expand its presence on the small screen.

The move reflects DreamWorks’ continued efforts to find revenue sources beyond feature films. The company’s television division is already showing significant growth; television revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 30 more than tripled to $50.7 million.

Last year, DreamWorks overhauled its feature-film division after a string of flops at the box office. Its most recent release, "Home," was a success, but the company still needs to Continue reading

Drone maker AeroVironment Inc. reported Tuesday that it swung to a profit in its latest quarter as revenue jumped 23% driven by strong sales of its unmanned aircraft systems.

AeroVironment said that during its fiscal second-quarter, sales in its unmanned-aircraft-systems segment–which accounts for some 87% of revenue–climbed 31.4%, offsetting a 15% fall in its efficient-energy-systems branch.

The company also reported a climb of 15 percentage points in gross margin as a percentage of revenue to 49%.

AeroVironment makes drones and rechargeable-battery technology for electric vehicles. The company, founded in 1981, traces its roots to the Gossamer Condor, the first human-powered Continue reading

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. said its earnings fell 6.6% on tax impacts in the latest quarter, while sales improved but came up short of analysts’ expectations.

The Winston-Salem, N.C., company’s shares fell 1.8% to $13.80 in recent after-hours trading.

For the period ended Nov. 1, Krispy Kreme reported a profit of $7.6 million, or 11 cents a share, down from $8.1 million, or 12 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items such as the company’s provision for deferred taxes, per-share earnings rose to 19 cents from 18 cents. Revenue increased 4.6% to $128.5 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share profit of 19 cents and revenue of $133 million.

Krispy Kreme has continued its expansion push abroad. At quarter’s end, 73% of its locations are now outside of the U.S., compared with roughly 71% a year earlier.

Sales at domestic stores open at least 18 months rose 3.4%, including growth of 2.8% at company-owned stores. Excluding currency impacts, international sales at established stores decreased 3.7% .

For the year ending in January, the company raised the lower end of its per-share earnings estimate by two cents and now expects per-share profit between 78 cents and 80 cents.

Write to Tess Stynes at

Things are finally brewing over at Yahoo Inc. after the company held a nearly three-day board meeting on its future late last week, but the latest rumor sounds like a crazy plan that would turn the Internet pioneer into basically a holding company.

On Tuesday, CNBC reported after the market closed that Yahoo

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 is considering halting Continue reading