Deals of the day -- mergers and acquisitions
March 21 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals involving European, U.S. and Asian companies were reported by 2000 GMT on Wednesday.
** South Korean state oil firm Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) said a consortium led by private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC, of which it is a part, will buy U.S.-based El Paso Corp's oil and gas business for $7.15 billion.
** Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc is close to buying Swiss-based Actavis for around $7 billion, marking the latest deal between generics companies racing to achieve economies of scale, three sources familiar with the matter said.
** PSA Peugeot Citroen's 1 billion euro ($1.3 bln) share sale appeared to be in the bag, freeing the carmaker to focus on its next hurdles: downsizing European production and making its alliance with General Motors work.
** JPMorgan has agreed to buy a 19.9 percent stake in Chinese trust company Bridge Trust Co, according to media reports.
** India's GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd is looking to sell down its stakes in the Alpha coal project and related port and rail assets in Australia to help fund the $10 billion cost of the projects, its Australian chief said.
** U.S. staffing provider On Assignment Inc on Tuesday agreed to buy privately held rival Apex Systems Inc for $600 million, including debt.
** AIA Group Ltd said that Japan's Nippon Life Insurance Co had agreed to buy a 1 percent stake in the firm for about $430 million.
** Morgan Stanley's Asia private equity arm has invested $300 million in China's Tianhe Chemicals Group, the two companies said.
** Lloyd's of London insurer Hardy Underwriting said it had accepted a 280 pence per share cash takeover offer from U.S. rival CNA Financial, valuing it at about 143 million pounds ($227 million).
** GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Johnson & Johnson are taking a new tack in the hunt for tomorrow's drugs by linking with venture capital firm Index Ventures in an unusual tie-up. The two pharmaceutical manufacturers will together contribute half the funding for a 150 million euros ($199 million) fund being launched by Index to invest in early-stage life sciences projects, primarily in Europe.
** Broadcom Corp said it would pay about $195 million to buy BroadLight, a maker of chips used in fiber optic networks carrying services such as television and high-speed Internet.
** Indonesia-focused private equity firm Saratoga Capital and two other investors have launched a sale of their 315 million shares in telecom tower firm PT Tower Bersama Infrastructure to raise up to 913.5 billion rupiah ($100 million), sources said.
** Land Securities Group said it would sell its Liverpool assets to InfraRed Capital Partners for 77 million pounds ($122.08 million).
** Hercules Offshore Inc said on Tuesday it will buy a rig from a unit of Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc for $40 million in cash to execute a three-year drilling contract with world's largest oil producer Saudi Aramco.
** Synergy Health said it would buy Surgical Solutions LLC from Empire Investment Holdings for $6.5 million in cash.
** Intertek Group bought Atlanta-based 4th Strand from its management shareholders for a total consideration of $6.4 million.
** Hewlett Packard Co CEO Meg Whitman plans to combine the computing giant's PC and printing divisions in a major internal overhaul intended to spur combined sales of hardware to customers, two sources familiar with the move told Reuters.
** Zynga Inc is buying OMGPOP, maker of the popular game "Draw Something" for an undisclosed sum, as the company moves to expand its games lineup on mobile devices and Facebook.
** Commerzbank and the European Commission are likely to announce a deal on the revamp of the German bank's ailing mortgage division later this month, three people close to the bank told Reuters.
** A former Russian Energy Minister is planning to bid for three refineries owned by bankrupt oil refiner Petroplus, a source close to the matter said.
** The Hartford Financial Services Group, under pressure from its biggest shareholder, famed hedge fund manager John Paulson, said it would get rid of most of its life insurance-related operations.
** A fund affiliated with Apollo Global Management LLC said it will acquire the Irish consumer credit card portfolio of Bank of America Europe Card Services.
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