Business news briefs: Acquisition by Thermo Fisher given approval by regulators

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Acquisition by Thermo Fisher given approval by regulators

European regulators have approved scientific instrument maker Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.'s $13.6 billion acquisition of Life Technologies Corp., on the condition that they divest parts of their businesses. The European Commission said the companies -- both of which are based in the U.S. -- have agreed to dispose parts of their businesses producing and supplying cell cultures, "gene silencing" products and polymer-based magnetic beads.

Men's Wearhouse offers to buy Jos. A. Bank

Men's Wearhouse Inc., which less than two weeks ago let a takeover bid from Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. expire without entering discussions, on Tuesday offered to buy its smaller rival for about $1.54 billion. Jos. A. Bank said in a statement that it had received the proposal and that its board would evaluate it and respond in "due course."

Leak worries prompt another escape recall

Ford is recalling the Escape small SUV again, this time to fix oil and fuel leaks that could cause engine fires. The hot-selling SUV has been recalled seven times since it was redesigned and went on sale in the spring of 2012. Dealers will fix cooling and control systems or inspect and replace fuel lines for free. The recalls start in January.

House, apartment permits increase throughout October

Permits to build houses and apartments were approved at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.034 million in October, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That's 6.2 percent higher than the September rate of 974,000 and the fastest since June 2008, just before the peak of the financial crisis. Nearly all of the increase was for multifamily homes. Data on homes started in October and September were not included in Tuesday's report. Those figures have been delayed because of the government shutdown and will be released Dec. 18 with the November home construction report.

Consumer confidence hits lowest level in 7 months

U.S. consumers' confidence in the economy fell in November to the lowest level in seven months, dragged down by greater concerns about hiring and pay in the coming months. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence dropped to 70.4 from 72.4 in October.

Home price index gains slow down in September

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, which does not include Pittsburgh, rose 0.7 percent from August to September, down from a 1.3 percent gain from July to August. That figure isn't adjusted for seasonal variations, so the change reflects, in part, slower buying in late summer and fall.

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