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Today in business: 5 things you need to know
Dell goes private, Obama calls for delay in spending cuts, and more in our roundup of the business stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
President Obama, who returned to the White House early this morning, will request a sequester later today.
President Obama, who returned to the White House early this morning, will request a sequester later today. Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

1. DELL TAKES ITSELF PRIVATE IN $24 BILLION DEAL
Struggling computer-maker Dell announced on Tuesday that it would go private in a $24 billion deal, the company's most drastic step yet to remain relevant in a tech era increasingly dominated by smartphones and tablets. The investors include founder Michael Dell, private equity firm Silver Lake, and Microsoft, whose software business is heavily reliant on Dell and other PC manufacturers. [Wall Street Journal]
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2. U.S. ACCUSES S&P OF FRAUD
The Justice Department has filed civil fraud charges against credit-rating agency Standard & Poor's, alleging that the company purposefully gave safe ratings to risky mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis, leading to heavy losses for investors. S&P has forcefully denied the charges. It is the first time that a credit-rating agency has been charged for alleged crimes related to the financial crisis, and it remains unclear whether the government will go after the two other big agencies, Fitch and Moody's. [New York Times]
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3. OBAMA TO CALL FOR DELAY IN SPENDING CUTS
President Obama on Tuesday will call on lawmakers to pass a small package of spending cuts and tax reforms, and to delay $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts — known as the sequester — that are scheduled to go into effect in the next few weeks. Economists say the cuts would likely damage the economy, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) responded to the planned announcement with a demand that the sequester be replaced with significant cuts that would balance the budget in 10 years. [Reuters]
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4. NEW BRITISH LAW WOULD ALLOW BREAKUP OF BIG BANKS
Liberty Globa, an international cable company, is reportedly in talks to buy Britain's Virgin Media, in what is widely seen as a challenge to Rupert Murdoch's media empire in Britain. Murdoch's News Corp. currently dominates the U.K. pay-TV market with British Sky Broadcasting. [Bloomberg]
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5. UBS REPORTS $2 BILLION LOSS ON LEGAL SETTLEMENTS
Swiss banking giant UBS reported a $2 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2012, which was largely attributed to steep legal payments related to a rate-rigging scandal. In December, UBS had agreed to pay $1.5 billion to settle charges that it had conspired with a group of banks to manipulate the Libor, a benchmark interest rate for the global financial community. [New York Times]

 

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