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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

Hasbro denies report about takeover talk

Hasbro Inc., the world's second-biggest toymaker, has denied discussing a possible takeover, saying the board spurned an approach from a private equity firm.

No talks are under way about the sale of the company, Hasbro said Thursday. Providence Equity Partners was in discussions with Hasbro as recently as last week before the talks ended, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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GE to invest more in 'green' projects

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) -- General Electric Co. said Thursday that its goal to invest $5 billion in energy-efficient and environmentally oriented projects has been met a year ahead of schedule. It also said it is committed to spend an additional $10 billion by 2015.

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Former Brocade CEO sentenced to prison

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A federal judge sentenced Brocade Communications' former CEO on Thursday to 1 1/2 years in prison for failing to disclose -- and then covering up -- a plan to alter the date of stock option grants so employees could reap greater compensation.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer also fined Gregory Reyes $15 million. Reyes is to report to prison Sept. 10. Reyes' lawyers said he is considering an appeal.

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Stock buybacks soar during first quarter

NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poor's said Thursday that stock repurchases among S&P 500 companies surged 80 percent in the first quarter from the same time last year, a sign that more companies feel comfortable enough about the economic recovery to begin cutting their record cash levels.

The jump marks the third straight quarter that companies in the broad S&P 500 index have increased their buyback activity.

Repurchases were up 16 percent from last year's fourth quarter. Still, the $55.3 billion bought back in the first quarter remains far short of record highs reached before the downturn. Stock buybacks totaled $171.95 billion in the third quarter of 2007.

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