- BARNEYS UPDATE: Due diligence is said to be under way for a possible official bid from Japan's Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. for Barneys New York. Fast Retailing has until Aug. 11 to negotiate a deal with Jones Apparel Group, which owns Barneys. Meanwhile, the $896 million deal by Dubai-based Istithmar for Barneys remains on the table. The agreement with Istithmar provided for two breakup fees, and any new bidder coming in after July 22 would have to bid for all of Jones, as well as pay the higher fee.

- BACK AT THE TABLE: A clerical union that has threatened to walk out at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach agreed to hold off until shipping companies consider its latest offer. Negotiators for the Office Clerical Unit of Local 63, a division of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and 14 shipping employers are to resume talks today. Among the issues that have separated the two sides are wages and health benefits. A walkout by the clerical union would trigger a larger work stoppage by about 15,000 ILWU members, effectively shutting down the twin ports, which handle around 40 percent of the nation's incoming cargo.

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