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Business

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Briefs

Drug firm advised to rethink bid

AstraZeneca shareholder Schroders has urged the pharmaceutical firm to reconsider its rejection of a takeover offer from U.S. drugmaker Pfizer.

The fund manager, which holds a 2 percent stake in AstraZeneca, is the biggest shareholder to call publicly for renewed takeover talks. Schroders said Tuesday it is disappointed by the board’s quick rejection of the latest offer.

The board of AstraZeneca this week rejected an improved $119 billion takeover offer from Pfizer, saying it significantly undervalued the company and its drug portfolio.

Under British takeover rules, Pfizer has until Monday to submit a new offer, but it has said it won’t raise its offer again or launch a hostile takeover bid.

Microsoft: No need for laptop with new tablet

Microsoft bills its new Surface tablet computer as a laptop replacement – and it means it this time.

The Surface Pro 3 will have a screen measuring 12 inches diagonally, up from 10.6 inches in the previous model. The Pro 3 is 32 percent thinner and 12 percent lighter than October’s Pro 2. The company said it customized more than 100 parts and worked closely with chipmaker Intel Corp. to maximize performance in a slim device.

Microsoft had also billed the Surface Pro 2 as a laptop replacement, but Surface executive Ben Reed said technological advances and customer feedback over the past several months led to the device unveiled Tuesday.

The Surface Pro 3 will go on sale this summer, in five configurations ranging from $799 to $1,949.

Home Depot results miss expectations

Home Depot’s fiscal first-quarter net income climbed 12 percent, helped by better sales. But the quarter’s results fell short of expectations as a cold and rainy spring hurt results.

Spring is the biggest season for home improvement retailers as homeowners and others work on their yards and gardens.

The Atlanta retailer earned $1.38 billion, or $1 a share, for the three months ended May 4. That compares with $1.23 billion, or 83 cents a share, a year earlier.

Ohio counties see joblessness drop

State officials in Ohio released information Tuesday showing Defiance, Paulding, Van Wert and Williams counties with lower unemployment in April than in the previous month.

Paulding and Van Wert counties had the lowest jobless rates at 4.6 percent, compared with 5.6 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, in March. Defiance declined to 4.9 percent in April from 5.8 percent a month ago; and Williams dropped to 5.1 percent, compared with 5.7 percent in March.

Twitter discusses deals including SoundCloud

Twitter is in early discussions to acquire or partner with music-related startups to rev up user growth, according to people with knowledge of the talks.

One company Twitter is considering buying is SoundCloud, a Berlin startup that lets people share music, according to one of the people who asked not to be named because the information is private. Talks could still fall apart, the person said.

Twitter’s business development team has also been discussing partnerships with SoundHound, a company in Santa Clara, California, that makes an application for recognizing music that is playing at the moment.

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