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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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B&N, Microsoft team up on Nook, college businesses

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Books and bits united Monday as Microsoft provided an infusion of money to help Barnes & Noble compete with top electronic bookseller Amazon. In exchange, Microsoft gets a long-desired foothold in the business of e-books and college textbooks.

Microsoft Corp.'s $300 million investment gets the software giant a 17.6 percent stake in a subsidiary for bookseller Barnes & Noble's e-book and college textbook businesses.

The agreement highlights the importance of electronic bookstores as traditional booksellers and technology companies jockey for position in the increasingly competitive market. E-books are believed to account for some 20 percent of book sales in the U.S., though no definitive numbers exist.

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Energy Transfer Partners to buy Sunoco for $5.3 billion

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Energy Transfer Partners is buying Sunoco in a $5.3 billion deal that creates one of the more diverse pipeline companies in the country.

The acquisition includes nearly 8,000 miles of pipeline, as well as 4,900 gas stations in 24 Eastern states. Those stations will keep the Sunoco brand name and its diamond-and-arrow logo. The deal also includes a refinery business that Sunoco is trying to sell.

Energy Transfer is primarily a natural gas pipeline company. Sunoco's pipeline network will allow the Dallas company to expand into moving crude oil and refined petroleum products from the Great Lakes and Northeast to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Sunoco's pipelines have been in high demand recently thanks to a boom in drilling for gas and oil in U.S. shale formations.

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US consumer spending growth slowed in March, income rose

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Americans increased their spending more slowly in March, suggesting some are worried their paychecks aren't growing fast enough.

The Commerce Department said Monday that consumer spending increased just 0.3 percent last month after a 0.9 percent gain in February.

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