Market Chatter- Corporate finance press digest

Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:50am EDT

Oct 10 (Reuters) - The following corporate finance-related stories were reported by media:

* Telekom Austria is set to pull out of the bidding for Serbian cable operator SBB due to uncertainty over how much it will have to pay for new frequencies on its home turf, a source close to the matter said.

* Telecom Italia is considering a sale of its 67 percent stake in Brazilian mobile operator TIM Participacoes in a bid to reduce its debt, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

* Private equity group KKR has launched a new attempt to find a buyer for loss-making car repair chain Auto-Teile Unger (ATU), a household name in Germany, in a bid to draw a line under an ill-fated investment, sources said.

* Private equity firms J.C. Flowers & Co and Apollo Global Management are among a handful of companies expected to bid for Hartford Financial Services Group Inc's Japanese annuity business, three people familiar with the situation told Reuters this week.

* Analyst Meredith Whitney, who rose to prominence for a prescient call on Citigroup's mortgage troubles in the lead-up to the financial crisis, is launching a hedge fund, two sources familiar with the matter and regulatory filings said on Wednesday.

* Westpac Banking Corp is in pole position to pick up the Australian assets being sold by Lloyds Banking Group , three sources with knowledge of the situation said.

* U.S. private equity firm Blackstone is among potential bidders for a minority stake in Italian fashion house Versace, sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

* Talks between U.S. drug distributor McKesson and the owner of Celesio over a possible bid for the German company could drag on for weeks, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

* UK travel and insurance specialist Saga is planning to list the 3 billion pound company as early as the first quarter of next year, the Financial Times reported.

* Hedge fund Barington Capital Group LP is pushing for Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc to split into two separate companies, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter.

* JPMorgan Chase & Co has launched the sale of its physical commodities business, circulating offering documents to potential buyers and valuing the assets at $3.3 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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