Deals of the day- Mergers and acquisitions
(Adds Alsea, UniCredit, Qatar Airways, Staples, Pfizer, Endurance Specialty, Ascometal, updates Alstom)
May 5 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Monday:
** Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd is considering increasing its offer to acquire rival reinsurer Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd to around $50 per share, or roughly $3.26 billion, people familiar with the matter said.
** Mexican state-run oil company Pemex has hired Credit Agricole to sell its stake of just over 9 percent in Spanish oil major Repsol, Spanish online newspaper El Confidencial reported, citing financial sources. The stake's market value is worth about 2.3 billion euros ($3.19 billion), according to Reuters' calculation.
** Australia's Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd agreed to buy state-owned Rural Finance Corp for A$1.78 billion ($1.65 billion) in an acquisition that would almost quadruple its loans to farmers.
** Chinese steel giant Baosteel Resources and Australian rail company Aurizon Holdings Ltd launched a $1 billion takeover bid for Australian explorer Aquila Resources Ltd in a move that could help break the grip of mega iron ore exporters Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton .
** Sterigenics, a sterilization services provider owned by private equity firm GTCR LLC, raised its buyout offer for Nordion Inc to $758 million from $727 million on Monday, after the Canadian medical isotope supplier received a rival bid from an unnamed buyer.
** Etisalat, which is set to buy a majority stake in Maroc Telecom, has agreed to sell its West African business to the Moroccan firm for $650 million to tap its expertise in that region.
** Mexican restaurant operator Alsea said on Monday it received regulatory approval to purchase retailer Walmex's Vips restaurant chain, with the deal set to be finalized in the coming days. Alsea, which runs Domino's Pizza, Starbucks and Burger King franchises in Mexico, agreed to buy Walmex's 361 restaurants in September for 8.2 billion pesos ($630.85 million).
** Israeli businessman Zadik Bino is in talks with three groups to sell his controlling stake in Paz Oil, Israel's largest distributor of refined oil products, for 2 billion shekels ($579 million), TheMarker financial news website said on Sunday.
** Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, which makes iPhones for Apple Inc, is in talks to buy 22 percent of compatriot mobile network provider Asia Pacific Telecom Co Ltd , local media reported citing unidentified sources. The deal will be worth T$11 billion to T$14 billion ($464.48 million), the Commercial Times reported.
** General Electric Co on Monday made tender offers to buy shares worth up to $389 million in two of Alstom SA's India units to comply with local rules, following its $16.9 billion bid to buy the French group's energy unit.
Also, the French government cannot give its backing to General Electric's bid for Alstom's energy assets in its current form, the industry ministry said in a letter to GE CEO Jeff Immelt on Monday.
** An investor consortium led by Dutch pension fund asset manager APG Asset Management N.V. and investment firm The Xander Group have formed a $300 million fund to buy leased office assets in India, the companies said.
** BlackBerry Ltd disclosed that U.S. real estate investment company Spear Street Capital is buying the majority of the embattled technology firm's Canadian real estate holdings for C$305 million ($278.09 million).
** Australian gas firm WestSide Corp Ltd on Monday rejected as undervalued a takeover offer from China's diversified energy company Landbridge Group Co Ltd that valued the company at A$177.6 million ($164.64 million).
** Staples Inc said on Monday it will pay roughly C$74 million ($67.5 million) for Canada's PNI Digital Media , giving it control of the software maker that powers in-store kiosks to print photographs, calendars and wedding invitations.
** A group of French industrialists and investors said on Monday it planned to make a bid of at least 40 million euros ($56 million) for the assets of bankrupt French speciality steel maker Ascometal.
** Unlisted French retailer Auchan will buy nearly half the Paris stores that rival Casino has to sell in order to win regulatory clearance to take full control of Monoprix, a source close to the matter said on Monday.
** Alitalia's CEO Gabriele Del Torchio will present his counterpart at Etihad with a proposal aimed at reaching a deal for an investment by the Gulf-based airline in the struggling Italian carrier, one of Alitalia's top shareholders said on Monday.
** Dubai Investments said it plans to sell off some assets. "We are edging towards completion of a divestment transaction which will significantly contribute to the group's profitability," said Chief Executive Khalid Bin Kalban, without giving further details.
** German engineering firm Siemens AG is close to finalizing an agreement to sell its logistics and airports solutions business to a group led by billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, quoting people familiar with the talks.
** German aircraft seating maker Recaro is looking at buying assets from B/E Aerospace after the U.S. company announced a surprise review that could lead to a shake-up of the $3 billion cabins industry.
** French utility GDF Suez and Suez Environnement on Sunday denied a report that Spanish group La Caixa would take a stake in the environmental services firm, replacing lead shareholder GDF Suez.
** Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways on Sunday said its strategy of buying stakes in European airlines was bringing fresh competition to the region, despite close scrutiny by regulators over whether its investments comply with European ownership rules.
** UniCredit is moving forward on the planned sale of its debt collection unit, as part of a broader effort by Italy's biggest bank by assets to squeeze more money out of its large soured-loans portfolio.
** Qatar's sovereign wealth fund has bought the stakes in its national airline owned by a former prime minister and other shareholders, making Qatar Airways a fully government-owned entity, the carrier's chief executive said on Monday.
** Pfizer Inc's top officials said on Monday they were weighing all strategies, including potential hostile maneuvers, in the company's effort to complete its intended takeover of British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc. ($1 = 0.7212 Euros) ($1 = 1.0795 Australian Dollars) ($1 = 30.1410 Taiwan Dollars) ($1 = 3.4560 Israeli Shekels) ($1 = 1.0967 Canadian Dollars) (Compiled by Avik Das and Ankit Ajmera in Bangalore)