Dec 13 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2100 GMT on Thursday:
** GrainCorp Ltd rejected a sweetened $2.9 billion bid from Archer Daniels Midland Co, putting pressure on the U.S. agribusiness giant to boost its offer for Australia’s last major independent grains handler.
** Best Buy Co Inc founder Richard Schulze is expected to make a fully financed offer to buy the consumer electronics retailer by the end of the week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, citing a source.
Schulze’s bid would be at least $5 billion to $6 billion, the newspaper reported, citing the source. Best Buy declined to comment on the report.
** Industrial machinery maker SPX Corp has outbid private equity firms competing to buy Gardner Denver Inc by a wide margin, offering to pay more than $4 billion for the rival, according to two people familiar with the matter.
** PetroChina will pay Encana Corp C$2.2 billion ($2.2 billion) for a 49.9 percent stake in a rich Alberta shale gas prospect owned by the Canadian company, the first big deal since Ottawa issued new guidelines for major energy investments by foreign state-owned enterprises.
** Sprint Nextel Corp, the majority owner of Clearwire Corp, has offered $2.1 billion to buy the rest of the wireless service provider but it will likely have to offer more money in order to secure a deal.
** International Paper Co is selling its building products unit to Georgia-Pacific LLC for $750 million cash, a move designed to sharpen focus on its massive packaging business.
** Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc said it would sell its oil and gas production business to private-equity backed Talos Energy LLC for at least $610 million to focus on its core oilfield services business.
** Uganda has blocked British explorer Ophir from taking over Dominion Petroleum’s assets in the east African nation despite its acquisition of Dominion, a senior official said.
** Italy’s Eni has strengthened its hand in Pakistan by agreeing to buy offshore gas acreage as the oil and gas major continues to channel cash into more profitable upstream activity.
** A Saudi Arabian investment company has set up a joint venture with SAHO, a Siberian grain producer, to ship Russian wheat and barley to the Middle East and North Africa, the two companies said on Thursday.
** The Spanish government is taking over another lender as its clean-up of the troubled financial sector gathers pace and healthier banks cough up funds to purge the system of toxic real estate assets.
The government said on Thursday it had secured the private investment it needed to get its ‘bad bank’ going, with most of the capital coming from the country’s top lenders, except for BBVA.
** Turkish retailer Migros Ticaret AS poured cold water on a report that Wal-Mart Stores Inc was in talks to buy an 80 percent stake, sending its shares lower after an initial spurt on Thursday.
** The world’s largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, has ceded part of its stake in Canada’s Baffinland Iron Ore Mines to Nunavut as it seeks to cut costs in a sluggish global market.
Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, which has a high debt load, said that it had handed over a 20 percent Baffinland stake to Nunavut, a privately held company backed by U.S. private equity firm Energy & Minerals Group.
** U.S. asset manager Legg Mason Inc said it will buy Fauchier Partners, one of London’s oldest fund-of-hedge-funds firms, from BNP Paribas Investment Partners, the latest deal in the fast-consolidating sector.
** Phillips 66, a major oil refiner, will likely look to sell its 71,000 barrel per day Whitegate refinery in Cork, Ireland, and its stake in the 200,000 bpd Melaka refinery in Malaysia, Chief Executive Greg Garland told reporters.
** Qatar National Bank, which is buying Societe Generale’s Egyptian unit for $2 billion as part of a regional expansion strategy, now has control of a top Turkish bank in its sights.
** French carmaker Renault raised 1.48 billion euros ($1.93 billion) from the sale of its remaining stake in truckmaker Volvo.
** Japan’s Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ plans to buy 20 percent of VietinBank from the Vietnamese government for about 60 billion yen ($720 million), a source close to the deal said, as Japan’s cash-rich big banks expand into fast-growing Southeast Asian markets.
** Indian billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group and China’s Dalian Wanda Group announced a tie-up to develop real estate and movie theatre projects, the latest partnership between Ambani and China.
** South Africa’s Standard Bank may sell 60 percent of its UK commodities and foreign exchange trading businesses to the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China for at least $600 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.
** The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has approved MetLife’s sale of its deposit-taking business to a unit of General Electric Co’s GE Capital, MetLife Inc said on Wednesday.
** Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has agreed to buy out Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s stake in their Japanese private banking joint venture for about $480 million.
** French broadcaster TF1 said it was weeks away from signing a strategic alliance with Discovery Communications that could see the U.S. group take a 20 percent stake in the Eurosport channel.
Discovery would pay around 184 million euros ($239.9 million) in total and would be granted the option to take its stake in Eurosport to 51 percent and to 49 percent in the other channels, TF1 said on Thursday.
** Axiata Group Bhd, Southeast Asia’s second-largest mobile phone provider, kicked off consolidation of Cambodia’s crowded telecommunications market with the $155 million acquisition of a rival.
** Dutch food group Wessanen has postponed the sale of its U.S. drinks business American Beverage Corporation (ABC), which is estimated to be worth as much 110 million euros ($143 million), because bids were too low.
** Finnish oil refiner Neste Oil plans to sell its petrol stations in Poland to Royal Dutch Shell for around 80 million euros ($104 million) after disappointing sales in the country.
** Credit Agricole has finalised the sale of its Cheuvreux brokerage unit to rival firm Kepler, a latest step in the French bank’s broader retreat from investment banking. Terms were not disclosed.
** Hitachi Ltd, Japan’s largest industrial electronics maker, is open to collaborative work with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on nuclear plants, but has no plans for a joint venture, its Chief Executive Hiroaki Nakanishi told Reuters on Thursday.