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Business briefs

Apple to reveal iPad2 today

at San Francisco event

Apple is expected today to unveil a new version of its iPad at an event in San Francisco. Jill Tan, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to provide further information on the event. Apple sold 3 million iPads in the United States in the first 80 days after its release last April. The current version weighs less than 2 pounds, is about the size of a large book and starts at $499.

J. Crew Group shareholders

OK $3 billion takeover deal

Shareholders of preppy clothing seller J. Crew Group Inc. have approved a $3 billion deal to be taken private by two investment firms. The $43.50-per-share buyout by private-equity firms TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners is expected to close on or near next Monday.

FAA clears Southwest Airlines'

plan ahead of buying AirTran

While some regulatory hurdles remain before Southwest Airlines can fully acquire and merge with rival low-cost carrier AirTran, the Federal Aviation Administration has accepted Southwest's transition plan, a trade publication reports. Southwest is the dominant carrier at MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma. Southwest has said it hopes to close a deal to acquire AirTran by midyear.- Joseph Mallia

Treasury to sell $2.7 billion in

preferred Ally Financial shares

The Treasury Department said yesterday that it will begin selling $2.7 billion in trust-preferred securities it holds in Ally Financial, the latest step to recoup the costs of the $700-billion financial bailout. The government owns 74 percent of the company through holdings of common stock.

U.S. manufacturing soars in

Feb. at fastest pace since '04

American manufacturing activity expanded in February at the fastest pace since 2004, though manufacturers have grown more concerned about rising inflation, according to an index released yesterday. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing gauge rose to 61.4 percent in February from 60.8 percent in January. The manufacturing sector has now grown 19 straight months.

From staff and wire reports

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