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Today in business: 5 things you need to know
Dish offers $25.5 billion for Sprint, China's recovery falters, and more in our roundup of the business stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Laborers walk past a banner outside a construction site in Beijing's central business district on April 14.
Laborers walk past a banner outside a construction site in Beijing's central business district on April 14. REUTERS/Jason Lee 

1. DISH MAKES $25.5 BILLION BID FOR SPRINT
Dish Network said Monday that it is offering to buy Sprint Nextel for $25.5 billion. The bid would be a sweeter deal for Sprint shareholders than a competing one from Japan's Softbank, which made a $20 billion merger proposal six months ago. The bidding war is a testament to the value of Sprint's wireless airwaves, or spectrum, which is an increasingly coveted commodity as data usage on cell phones grows. Verizon is also going after more spectrum by offering $1.5 billion for airwave space now owned by Clearwire, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. [USA Today, Wall Street Journal]
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2. CHINA DATA RAISES GLOBAL ECONOMIC FEARS
Gold prices plunged Monday by as much as $100 an ounce, or nearly 8 percent, after data from China suggested that its economic recovery was faltering. Stocks tumbled in many countries, too. China reported that its economy had grown at just an annual rate of 7.7 percent in the first three months of 2013. That's down from a 7.9 percent rate in the last quarter of 2012, and short of the 8 percent rate that economists had forecast. "China makes up 40 percent of demand for base metals and all the growth in demand for oil is coming from the developing world," said Nic Brown, head of commodities research at Natixis in London, "so to see weakness in China is bad for commodities generally." [Reuters]
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3. CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENT FALLS
Investment in clean energy projects dropped by 22 percent in the first three months of 2013, Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported on Monday. The $40.6 billion invested — down from $52 billion in the same period last year — was the lowest level since 2009. The decline was caused by the slashing of federal subsidies for wind, solar, and other alternative energy sources, as well as a decline in financing of clean-energy projects from China and Brazil. [Bloomberg]
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4. GREECE CLINCHES DEAL FOR MORE BAILOUT MONEY
Greece and its foreign creditors said Monday that they had reached a deal on measures the struggling country must make to get the next infusion of bailout money it needs to stay afloat. The agreement was hammered out in two weeks of negotiations with the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. It calls for laying off thousands of civil servants and recapitalizing Greek Banks. If all goes as planned, the troika of creditors said, recession-ravaged Greece should return to growth in 2014. [New York Times]
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5. BUSINESSMAN COMMISSIONS WORLD'S PRICIEST IPHONE
A Hong Kong businessman is reportedly the proud new owner of the world's most expensive iPhone. Estimated value: $15 million. Craftsman Stuart Hughes of Liverpool says the tycoon, whom he identified only as "Joe," commissioned him to make the historic piece of bling to show off a family heirloom — a 26-carat black diamond worth $14.5 million — by incorporating it in a custom-covered iPhone 5. According to Hughes' website, this flashy smartphone has 600 flawless white diamonds, a full solid-gold dressing, and 53 diamonds on the rear forming the Apple logo. Meanwhile, Apple supplier Foxconn has reportedly stepped up hiring in China, suggesting the next version of the iPhone is on the horizon, supporting rumors of a summer launch. [CNN, Wall Street Journal]

 
Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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