Deals of the day- Mergers and acquisitions

Tue May 20, 2014 4:01pm EDT

(Adds Braemar Shipping Services, Wesizwe, MOL, Banco Sabadell; Updates AstraZeneca, London Stock Exchange)

May 20 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Tuesday:

** AstraZeneca shareholder Schroders urged the company to restart takeover talks with Pfizer, adding its voice to criticism of the British drugmaker's rejection of the U.S. firm's 70 billion pound ($118 billion) bid.

** Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc said it will not make an all-cash bid for drugmaker Allergan Inc as many had expected last week when the company said it would improve its cash and stock offer for the Botox maker.

** Germany's Commerzbank is finalizing the sale of Spanish property loans to U.S. investors for up to 3.9 billion euros ($5.4 billion), sources said, in what would be one of the biggest deals of its kind since Spain's 2008 real estate crash.

** London Stock Exchange Group Plc has entered into exclusive talks to buy U.S.-based asset manager and stock index provider Russell Investments, in an estimated $3 billion deal that would allow the bourse operator to increase its U.S. presence.

** British aerospace and defense supplier Cobham is buying U.S. communications equipment maker Aeroflex Holding Corp for $920 million, continuing its quest for commercial customers as its main defense clients cut spending.

** Australia's Treasury Wine Estates is betting its Penfolds brand and a cost-cutting new CEO will boost earnings and justify its decision to reject a $2.90 billion takeover offer from private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co LP. The world's No. 2 winemaker said it had rejected KKR's bid as too low, sending its share price above the bid value as investors rushed to get in ahead of any new offers from other parties.

** Private equity group BC Partners is considering selling French domestic cleaning products maker Spotless Group and is looking for a price tag of between 900 million euros ($1.23 billion) to 1 billion euros, Les Echos said.

** Italian cement maker Italcementi said it had set final price in a takeover bid for the shares in its French unit Ciments Francais that it does not yet own at 79.5 euros ($110) per share. The price is 'ex dividend' and is an increase from a preliminary takeover price of 78 euros announced on March 6, which included the dividend.

** French nuclear group Areva could be interested in a deal for Alstom's wind turbines unit, its CEO said, while adding Areva was not directly involved in talks over the possible sale of Alstom's energy business.

** British insurer RSA Insurance Group Plc said on Monday it had reached agreement to sell its majority-owned Canadian brokerage business - Noraxis Capital Corp - to U.S. insurance brokerage Arthur J. Gallagher & Co for C$500 million ($460 million).

** London-listed Central Asia Metals Plc (CAML) said it has acquired the remaining 40 percent of the Kounrad copper project in Kazakhstan and aims to boost copper cathode output by about 50 percent by 2016.

** China-focused private equity firm Hopu Investments Co Ltd. plans to acquire a minority share in Russia's largest untapped copper deposit by the end of 2014, the operator of the project said. The project's operator, Baikal Mining Co, and Hopu have also agreed to form an investment consortium comprising major Chinese players in the industrial sector and financial institutions for the project.

** A fund led by Andrea Bonomi further raised its stake in Club Mediterranee to above 10 percent, three days ahead of the closure deadline for a takeover offer for the French holiday firm that the Italian businessman opposes. Bonomi-led Strategic Holdings now holds 10.5 percent of Club Med's capital, clouding prospects for a takeover offer launched a year ago by China's Fosun International and French private equity firm Ardian.

** Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank has received regulatory approval from the United Arab Emirates central bank for its purchase of Barclays' retail operations in the country, its chief executive said. The largest sharia-compliant lender in the emirate agreed a 650 million dirham ($177 million) deal with the British bank last month.

** The Finnish government proposed a sell-off of Altia, a liquor maker fully owned by the state, as it seeks new revenue to finance spending and reduce the need for borrowing.

** Debt-burdened Spanish real estate group Realia said it agreed to sell its stake in French property vehicle SIIC de Paris at a loss to investment group Eurosic . Realia, controlled by Spanish builder FCC and Bankia , said it would sell its 59 percent stake in SIIC de Paris at 22 euros per share, valuing the French company at around 948 million euros ($1.3 billion).

** WWRD Holdings Ltd, owner of high-end crystal and china brands including Waterford, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton, is in the early stages of exploring a sale of the company, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

** Finnish investment and insurance group Sampo has increased its stake in small Finnish bank Aktia to 6 percent, in what it described as a financial investment. Sampo now holds about 6 percent of Aktia stock and 0.9 percent of its voting rights, it said.

** France's controversial decree widening its control over takeovers in strategic industries is meant to help discussions over alliances and is not there to block deals, Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg told lawmakers on Tuesday.

** Braemar Shipping Services will buy fellow British shipbroker ACM Shipping Group in the latest industry shake-up as players look to grow after years of freight market turmoil.

** South African platinum firm Wesizwe, which is building a mine backed by Chinese money, has its "ear to the ground" for a fire sale of assets that could result from a massive industry strike.

** Food and grain-handling companies ConAgra Foods Inc , Cargill Inc and CHS Inc have won U.S. antitrust approval to merge their North American flour mill operations after recently agreeing to sell four mills to a Japanese company.

** Hungarian oil and gas group MOL plans further acquisitions to boost its retail market share in central Europe, where an economic recovery is underway and motor fuel sales are rising, MOL's downstream chief told Reuters.

** Spain's Banco Sabadell said on Tuesday it had expanded an insurance joint venture with Zurich in a deal valued at an initial 214 million euros ($293 million), half of which the Swiss company would contribute in cash.

** The private equity owner of Pro Mach Inc is exploring a sale of the packaging equipment maker that could value it at close to $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, the latest in a wave of such deals in the sector.

** Goldman Sachs has begun a formal process to sell the metals warehousing business it purchased four years ago, a spokesman said on Tuesday, confirming an earlier Reuters report.

($1 = 0.6 British pounds) ($1 = 1.09 Canadian Dollars) ($1 = 0.73 Euros) (Compiled by Natalie Grover and Sampad Patnaik in Bangalore)

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