PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - March 21

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 21, 2017 10:00 hrs

March 21 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

- SoftBank Group Corp scrapped a planned $100 million investment in a smartphone startup founded by the creator of Google's Android software, partly because of the Japanese investor's increasingly close relationship with Apple Inc, according to people familiar with the matter.

- Costco Wholesale Corp, which improbably caused a frenzy in the golf world when it started selling low-priced but well-reviewed balls last year, filed a lawsuit against the parent company for Titleist, maker of the self-proclaimed "number one ball in golf."

- Vodafone Group Plc said it would merge its embattled Indian business with a local rival, a $24 billion move that would create India's largest wireless company and could strengthen the British telecommunication company's standing in a cutthroat market.

- A rift between Political-news outlet Politico's co-founder and chief executive, Jim VandeHei, and its owner, Robert Allbritton, over its direction triggered VandeHei's abrupt departure, along with those of star reporter Mike Allen and three top executives. VandeHei warned various executives that a wave of additional exits might follow, two people familiar with the matter say.

- An executive for Alphabet Inc's Google apologized for commercials that appeared before extremist videos on its YouTube site and said it would simplify tools that enable advertisers to control where their ads appear.

- Alternative Bank Schweiz AG, the first Swiss bank to require all depositors to pay to leave money with it, posted a jump in 2016 profit, suggesting the strategy is working.

- Honda Motor Co's U.S. unit said in January it would shift its more-than-$500-million media-buying account from Mediavest Spark, a unit of advertising giant Publicis Groupe , to an independent agency.

- Qualcomm Inc is introducing a new product designed to bring faster wireless service to basic, lower-priced cellphones in emerging markets, an attempt to bolster the chip giant's reach among consumers who can't afford smartphones. (Compiled by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru)