Oct 25 The following bids, mergers, acquisitions
and disposals were reported by 2100 GMT on Friday:
** The trading arm of China's Guangzhou city government is
to buy three quarters of Hong Kong's Chong Hing Bank Ltd
for about HK$11.64 billion ($1.5 billion),
underscoring the island's attraction for mainland and foreign
lenders alike. Family-run Chong Hing is the second bank in Hong
Kong, Asia's sixth-biggest loan market, to receive offers
recently and takeover talk is also surrounding Wing Hang Bank
** Telecom Italia is considering a capital
increase and the scrapping of its dividend amongst the options
for overhauling its heavily indebted balance sheet, two sources
close to the matter said on Friday.
** Vivendi has reached a deal to buy out partner
Lagardere's 20 percent stake in pay-television
operator Canal+ France for an undisclosed amount, according to
French magazine le Nouvel Observateur.
** Private equity firm Wind Point Partners is exploring a
sale of Hearthside Food Solutions LLC, the largest food contract
manufacturer and largest privately held bakery in the United
States, three people familiar with the matter said this week.
Wind Point has asked Barclays Plc to run an auction for
Hearthside, hoping it can fetch more than $1 billion, the people
said, asking not to be identified as the sale process is
** Two top U.S. law firms are in advanced merger discussions
to create one of the 10 largest in the country, according to the
firms' chairmen. San Francisco-based Orrick Herrington &
Sutcliffe is expected to sign a letter of intent next week to
join with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, a source with direct
knowledge of the discussions said.
** The Italian government plans to start selling state-owned
assets by the end of the year to reduce its debts, with a stake
in oil and gas major Eni top of the list, two sources
familiar with the matter told Reuters.
** Italy's Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) is considering
offering part of its stakes in electricity grid operator Terna
and gas network operator Snam to investors,
the head of the state investment agency said on Friday.
** Rio Tinto has agreed to sell its
majority stake in Australia's third-largest thermal coal mine to
Glencore Xstrata and Japan's Sumitomo Corp for
just over $1 billion, pushing ahead with plans to focus on
larger, core operations. Rio put its 50.1 percent stake in the
Clermont mine in Queensland on the block earlier this year, but
appetite had been considered by industry advisers to be weak,
given a poor outlook for coal prices and high costs in
** Japan's Line Corp, creator of the fast growing social
messaging app Line, may choose an overseas exchange for an
expected initial public offering next year, banking sources with
knowledge of the matter said. One of the sources, who spoke on
condition of anonymity, said the offering could value Line, a
subsidiary of South Korea's Naver Corp, at around
** Maple Leaf Foods Inc launched an auction for its
bakery company Canada Bread Co, targeting Grupo Bimbo
, one of the world's largest bread makers, as well as
private equity, several people familiar with the matter said.
Maple Leaf said on Monday that it would explore selling its 90
percent stake in Toronto-based Canada Bread, a global company
with a C$1.75 billion ($1.68 billion) market value, in a review
process that is expected to be completed by early 2014.
** Private equity firm Aquiline Holdings LLC is exploring a
sale of Clear2Pay, a Belgian financial services electronic
payments company it invested in four years ago, according to two
people familiar with the matter. New York-based Aquiline has not
yet hired a bank to oversee the sale, which could fetch around
400 million euros ($552 million), said one of the sources, who
wished to remain anonymous because they are not permitted to
speak to the media.
** The New York Times Co said on Thursday that it
had closed the sale of The Boston Globe to Boston Red Sox owner
John Henry after a Massachusetts judge lifted a temporary
injunction halting the deal. Henry agreed to buy the Globe and
its sister newspaper, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, for $70
million, a fraction of the price the New York Times paid for the
papers 20 years ago.
** Saputo Inc, Canada's largest dairy producer,
looked likely to triumph in the battle for Australia's
Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Ltd (WCB)
after hiking its bid by 14 percent to A$449 million
($430 million). Saputo's A$8 per share offer trumps separate
approaches from WCB's two largest shareholders, and won a
recommendation from WCB's directors.
** Career Education Corp said it would sell its
European education business to private equity firm Apax Partners
for about $305 million. The deal - valued at more than Career
Education's market capitalization - includes its entire
international schools business, comprising the Paris-based
INSEEC Group and the International University of Monaco.
** Asia private equity firm RRJ Capital, founded by
ex-Goldman Sachs and Hopu Management dealmaker Richard
Ong, has invested a further $248 million in ING Groep's
U.S. insurance unit, a person with direct knowledge of the
matter told Reuters. RRJ acquired the stake from ING, which sold
a further 38 million shares in its U.S. insurance unit ING US
raising $1.12 billion on Thursday.
** China's Shunfeng Photovoltaic International Ltd
has signed a preliminary deal to buy the main China unit of
Suntech Power, two sources close to the matter said. The
framework agreement with Wuxi Suntech's administrator brings the
closely watched restructuring of the firm's $1.75 billion debt
closer to completion after Suntech Power defaulted on a $541
million dollar convertible bond in March.
** New Zealand's Superannuation Fund said it entered a
conditional agreement to buy a 17 percent stake in retirement
village operator Metlifecare for NZ$126 million ($105
** British sports marketing group Chime Communications Plc
is to boost its presence in motor racing by buying Just
Marketing Inc for $71 million, a deal that has cost it the
support of its largest shareholder WPP. WPP, the world's
largest advertising group, could sell its 20 percent after
criticizing the takeover and suggesting that Chime should focus
on growing its existing businesses.
** DuPont said on Thursday that it would spin off its
titanium dioxide unit into a separately traded public company
within 18 months, yielding to intense pressure from Wall Street
to divest the volatile business. Spinning off the performance
chemicals business, which also sells refrigerants, would allow
DuPont to focus more on specialty materials and agriculture, two
** French retailer Carrefour SA hired two
investment banks to prepare an initial public offering for its
Brazil unit, according to a report published on the website of
business magazine Exame late on Thursday.
** Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd said on Thursday
that its largest shareholder, Pershing Square Capital
Management, is selling 5.97 million of the CP shares it manages,
via a public offering.