March 1 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals involving European, U.S. and Asian companies were reported by 2100 GMT on Thusday.
** Finnish group Outokumpu's shareholders approved a rights issue for its 2.7 billion euro ($3.6 billion) acquisition of ThyssenKrupp's stainless steel unit, a deal aimed at boosting profitability and fending off Asian rivals.
** Japanese brewer Asahi is emerging as a front runner to buy the East European brewer StarBev in the next two weeks with a sale expected to generate up to $3 billion for private equity owner CVC Capital Partners, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
** India's $2.5 billion auction of government shares in Oil and Natural Gas Corp was nearly covered by close, the country's two main stock exchanges said in a joint statement.
** The independent directors of Extract Resources, owner of one of the world's largest uranium mines, have backed a takeover offer from China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp (CGNPC) that values it at A$2.2 billion ($2.38 billion).
** India's Tata Communications is considering a bid for Cable & Wireless Worldwide in a move that could set up a takeover battle for the $1.2 billion British telecoms group with mobile phone giant Vodafone.
** North Sea-focused oil and gas explorer Ithaca Energy Inc said it had received unsolicited interest from several parties, which analysts estimate could result in a deal valued at about C$868 million ($880.2 million).
** Russian power group InterRao has agreed to sell its minority stake in Italian-controlled power generator Enel OGK-5 to a private-equity investor group in a deal worth up to $750 million, the parties said on Thursday.
** The Peugeot family is to hold around 40 percent of voting rights and 25 percent of capital in PSA Peugeot Citroen as part of a new partnership with U.S. carmaker General Motors, Thierry Peugeot has told French newspaper Les Echos.
** Aquila Resources said it is in advanced talks to sell its Washpool coking coal project to Indian state consortium International Coal Ventures (ICVL), a sale the miner needs to help fund its iron ore ambitions.
Analysts estimate the project could fetch around A$300 million ($324.14 million).
** Goldman Sachs Group Inc said it would buy Ariel Re's Bermuda-based insurance and reinsurance operations , its latest foray into a business that has been lucrative for Wall Street banks, though not a large part of earnings.
** K3 Business Technology Group PLC said it had received a number of indicative proposals at levels that were "materially higher" than its current share price, and had started a formal sale process.
** French utility Veolia Environnement said it was in exclusive talks with a possible buyer for its transport joint venture stake. Veolia said on Thursday it was sticking to its financial goals, which include selling off 5 billion euros of assets and cutting debt below 12 billion in 2013.
** Insurer and asset manager Principal Financial Group said it will buy a 60 percent indirect ownership in a Brazilian mutual fund and asset management company to expand its base in the country.
** Swiss energy firm Alpiq has given up trying to sell a 5 percent stake in Italian regional utility A2A due to adverse market conditions, sources close to the matter said on Thursday.
** Trevali Mining Corp said on Thursday that commodities trader Glencore International Plc will acquire a 7.8 percent stake in Trevali through a private placement deal worth $18 million.
** VTB Capital, the investment arm of Russia's second-biggest lender, is interested in buying a stake in Bulgaria's debt-ridden telecoms operator Vivacom as a financial investment, a senior company official said on Thursday.
** Online recruitment company Monster Worldwide Inc Chief Executive Sal Iannuzzi told investors on Thursday the company is considering all "strategic alternatives," sending Monster's shares up 17.6 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.
** The Carlyle Group and Vestar Capital Partners, two shareholders in AZ Electronic Materials, said they planned to reduce their stakes in the speciality chemicals company by selling an 11.6 percent interest.