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HPE to buy Nimble Storage for $1.09 billion


Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE. N) said it would buy data storage provider Nimble Storage Inc (NMBL. N) for $1.09 billion in cash, to expand its presence in the fast-growing flash storage business. HPE Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman has been focusing on a few areas such as networking, storage and technology services since the company was spun off from Hewlett-Packard Co in 2015. Nimble Storage's shares rose 45.3 percent to $12.50, matching HPE's offer price. HPE's stock was marginally down. The $1.09 billion deal value is based on Nimble Storage's outstanding shares of about 87.5 million as of Nov. 30, according to Reuters calculations. HPE also agreed to assume or pay out Nimble's unvested equity awards with a value of about $200 million at close. Nimble makes hybrid storage devices that combine hard disks and flash drives. The company's larger rivals include NetApp Inc (NTAP. O) and Dell's EMC Corp.

Nimble Storage's entry- to mid-range flash-based products will help HPE cater to customers across all segments, the company said on Tuesday."The company can bring Nimble's operations to scale more quickly," Mizuho Securities analyst Abhey Lamba said in a note. The overall flash market, estimated at about $15 billion in 2016, is expected to expand to nearly $20 billion by 2020, according to research firm IDC.

Sales in HPE's storage business fell 13 percent in its latest quarter. The company has also cut its full-year profit forecast. The deal is expected to add to HPE's earnings in the first full fiscal year following the close, likely by April."While accretive, however, we do not think the deal is likely to move the needle for investors," Lamba said.

Google foe takes Android complaint to regulators BRUSSELS Open Internet Project, whose members include Axel Springer and Getty Images, on Tuesday accused Alphabet unit Google of imposing anti-competitive curbs on Android smartphone makers, its second complaint against the U.S. tech giant.

China's ZTE pleads guilty, settles with U.S. over Iran, North Korea sales NEW YORK Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp will plead guilty and pay $892 million to settle allegations it violated U.S. laws that restrict the sale of American-made technology to Iran and North Korea, the company and U.S. government agencies said on Tuesday.

LinkedIn fails to agree with Russia on restoring access to site MOSCOW LinkedIn Corp. has failed to reach an agreement with the Russian authorities to restore public access to the social networking website, the company and Russia's communications regulator said on Tuesday.

U.S. job growth seen strong in February; wages to rebound


U.S. employers likely maintained a brisk pace of hiring in February and boosted wages for workers, which is expected to give the Federal Reserve the green light to raise interest rates next week despite slowing economic growth. Nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 190,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists, in part as unseasonably mild weather buoyed employment in the construction sector. The economy created 227,000 jobs in January. The Labor Department will publish its closely watched employment report on Friday at 08:30 a.m. (1330 GMT). Fed Chair Janet Yellen signaled last week that the U.S. central bank would likely hike interest rates at its March 14-15 policy meeting. The economy needs to create roughly 100,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population. "February employment appears to be the final hurdle for the Fed to raise interest rates in March, and it's likely to be easily jumped," said Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in Westchester, Pennsylvania. Payrolls could, however, surprise on the upside after the ADP National Employment Report showed on Wednesday that private sector employers hired 298,000 workers in February, the largest amount in a year. Last month's brisk clip of hiring is expected to have been accompanied by an acceleration in wage growth, with average hourly earnings seen rising 0.3 percent in February after January's paltry 0.1 percent gain. That would lift the year-on-year increase in wages to 2.8 percent from 2.5 percent in January. The unemployment rate is seen declining 1/10th of a percentage point to 4.7 percent in February, even as more people likely entered the labor market, encouraged by the hiring spree.

With the labor market near full employment, wage growth could speed up as companies are forced to raise compensation to retain employees and attract skilled workers. According to economists, a growth rate of between 3 and 3.5 percent in wages is needed to lift inflation to the Fed's 2 percent target. But inflation is already firming, in part as commodity prices rise. BEHIND THE CURVE Rising inflation, together with a tighter labor, stock market boom and strengthening global economy, has left some economists expecting that the Fed could increase interest rates much faster than is currently anticipated by financial markets.

"The Fed might find itself behind the curve and having to catch up," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. The U.S. central bank lifted its benchmark overnight rate in December and has forecast three rate increases for 2017. Job growth has averaged 186,000 per month since January 2010, a recovery that predates Donald Trump's presidency. While Trump's election victory last November sparked a stock market rally and jumps in consumer and business confidence, there has been no surge in both business and consumer spending. Data ranging from trade to consumer and business spending suggest the economy slowed further early in the first quarter after growing at a 1.9 percent annualized rate in the final three months of 2016. The Atlanta Fed is forecasting gross domestic product growing at a 1.2 percent rate this quarter.

"It's really surprising that the U.S. is still producing this many jobs because we are quite close to full employment," said Thomas Costerg, a senior U.S. economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York. "It's way too early to see the impact of the new administration's policies."All sectors of the economy, with the exception of government, are expected to have expanded payrolls in February. Manufacturing jobs are forecast to have increased for a third straight month as rising oil prices fan demand for machinery. Warm weather last month likely kept crews at construction sites, boosting payrolls in the sector. Retail sector employment probably cooled after surprisingly adding 45,900 jobs in January. Retailers, including J. C. Penney Co Inc and Macy's Inc have announced thousands of layoffs as they shift toward online sales and scale back on brick-and-mortar operations. Government employment could fall for a fifth straight month amid a freeze on the hiring of civilian federal government workers, which came into effect in January."We think that overall government payrolls will decline 10,000," said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York.