UPDATE 1-Market Chatter-Corporate finance press digest
March 6 (Reuters) - The following corporate finance-related stories were reported by media on Wednesday:
* Private equity firms including Blackstone Group LP and Carlyle Group are exploring a joint offer for Life Technologies Corp, a biomedical laboratory equipment maker with a $10 billion market value, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
* Britain has lost its campaign to stop a strict European Union cap on bankers' bonuses after its 11th-hour fightback secured no more than minor potential tweaks to a pay clampdown dreaded by the City of London, the Financial Times reported.
* The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined securities regulators to tackle the potential threat of market manipulation posed by sophisticated computer trading strategies that have taken markets beyond the scope of traditional policing, the Financial Times reported.
* London's regulator has admitted it was slow off the mark when the first indications emerged six years ago that banks were submitting artificially low Libor rates, the Financial Times reported.
* Apple Inc has held talks with Beats Electronics LLC, the audio technology firm co-founded by influential hip-hop producer Dr Dre and music mogul Jimmy Iovine, on a potential partnership involving Beats' planned music-streaming service, three people familiar with the situation told Reuters.
* J C Penney Co Inc Chief Executive Ron Johnson has only to the end of the year to turn around the ailing retailer and stem a massive decline in sales or risk being fired, a person familiar with the board's thinking said on Tuesday.
* South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is set to invest about $110 million in struggling Sharp Corp , a deal that will ensure it a smooth supply of large-sized TV panels and help bolster the Japanese company's chances of survival.
* Verizon Communications Inc has weighed several options involving its relationship with Vodafone Group Plc and its joint ownership of Verizon Wireless ranging from ending its wireless venture with the European company to a full merger with Vodafone, Bloomberg reported.
* CPPGroup Plc is in talks on a financial restructuring that could see its lenders swap their debt for a significant stake in the British credit card insurer following a multi-million pound regulatory fine, Sky News reported on Tuesday.
* Spain is mulling a full or partial merger of nationalised lenders Bankia SA and Catalunya Banc SA to minimise the cost for taxpayers of maintaining the two banks, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.
* China is investigating the influence of the Glencore International Plc and Xstrata Plc $76 billion tie-up in the copper market, opening the door for Beijing to seek some remedies from the world's largest trading houses and the miner before it approves the deal, the Financial Times reported.
* Lenders to Kingfisher Airlines Ltd have indicated they may sell United Spirits Ltd (USL) shares pledged with them as collateral either in the market or at a higher price to outsiders, dealing a serious, but not fatal, blow to the proposed takeover of USL by British liquor giant Diageo Plc, the Economic Times reported.
* A key shareholder in Spanish oil group Repsol SA has held talks with Argentina's government to try to broker a compensation deal for the seizure of its majority stake in national oil company YPF SA last year, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
* Textile-to-telecom company Aditya Birla Group is planning to buy a U.S. fertiliser plant to benefit from cheaper prices of shale gas to fuel factories, The Financial Express reported, citing spokesperson Kumar Birla. If the plan materialises, it would be the group's first acquisition of an overseas fertiliser unit.
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