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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Avon Products rejects Coty's $10 billion offer

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Coty came calling, but Avon slammed the door.

Struggling direct cosmetics seller Avon Products Inc. on Monday rejected a $10 billion buyout offer from Coty Inc., a smaller beauty products maker looking to capitalize on Avon's business woes.

It is the largest takeover offer by far from New York-based Coty Inc., which has snapped up smaller beauty brands like OPI nail polish and Philosophy Inc. skin care, in the past two years.

The $23.25-per-share bid also underscores the weakness at Avon, which has been beset by a foreign bribery investigation, weakening sales and a leadership vacuum.

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Data breach put 1.5 million numbers at risk

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ A company that processes credit card transactions said Monday that as many as 1.5 million card numbers were compromised in a data breach early last month.

The CEO of the company, Global Payments Inc., said the matter was "absolutely contained," but Visa dropped the company from its list of approved third parties that process transactions between stores and banks.

The breach was revealed Friday when Visa and MasterCard said they had notified issuers of its credit cards. On Monday, American Express said it may have been affected, and Discover promised to reissue cards where appropriate.

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US factory output rises, but construction falls

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ U.S. factories stepped up hiring and production in March, the latest evidence that manufacturing is growing at a healthy pace and fueling the recovery.

But a separate report on construction spending showed that building activity declined in February for the second straight month, disappointing economists.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its index of manufacturing activity rose to 53.4 in March. That's up from 52.4 in the previous month. Readings above 50 indicate the sector is expanding.

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