Feb 28 (Reuters) - The following corporate finance-related stories were reported by media on Thursday:
* Regulators have escalated an investigation into suspicious trades placed ahead of the $23 billion takeover of H.J. Heinz Co , focusing on a complex derivatives bet routed through London, the New York Times reported, citing two people briefed on the matter.
* France's Vivendi SA could put the sale of its Brazilian phone and broadband Internet company GVT SA on hold as bids are coming short of the asking price of 7 billion euros ($9.18 billion)to 8 billion euros, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.
* New UK banks will be allowed to operate with lower capital requirements than their established peers, as part of a regulatory push to encourage competition in high street banking.
* Britain's Barclays Plc plans to cut or claw back about 450 million pounds ($681.03 million) of pay from its staff over a rate-rigging scandal that last year forced out its chief executive and chairman, a person close to the matter said on Wednesday.
* Nokia Siemens Networks has completed the strategic sell-off of its non-core businesses, signalling the next stage in a restructuring process that has already seen a reduction of more than 17,000 jobs at the telecoms equipment business.
* Fashion house BCBG Max Azria Group Inc, whose clothing has been worn by celebrities such as Beyonce and Angelina Jolie, is exploring a potential sale that could fetch around $1 billion, two people familiar with the matter said.
* A U.S. Air Force contract won by Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA is a "very good development" for a bid by Boeing Co to supply fighter jets for Brazil's armed forces, a senior Brazilian official said on Wednesday.
* LCH.Clearnet will raise 300 million pounds ($454.02 million) through a capital raising in the coming days that is expected to see exchange operator Nasdaq OMX Group Inc raise its minority stake in the trans-Atlantic clearing house, Sky News reported on Wednesday.
* Flowers Foods Inc is set to buy Wonder Bread and some other brands owned by Hostess Brands Inc for $360 million, a source familiar with the matter said, giving the No. 2 U.S. baking company a bigger slice of the fast-consolidating bread business.
* British private equity firm Apax Partners LLP raised $90.2 million after selling a 4.2 percent stake in India's Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd through blocks of shares, a source with knowledge of the sale told Reuters on Thursday.