(Adds Dell, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Melrose Industries and others)
July 31 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Wednesday:
** Michael Dell's and Silver Lake's $24.4 billion bid to take Dell Inc private suffered a blow on Wednesday after the company's special committee rejected their request to change the voting rules in exchange for them offering $150 million more.
** Hedge fund manager William Ackman unveiled his biggest bet ever on Wednesday, a $2.2 billion play on Air Products & Chemicals Inc, that the billionaire trader kept secret for two months.
** Deutsche Bank and Italian businessman Maurizio Borletti have sold French luxury department store chain Printemps to Qatari investors for 1.75 billion euros ($2.32 billion), a source familiar with the transaction told Reuters.
** Sony Corp's board is expected to reject a proposal from activist investor Daniel Loeb, whose fund is the company's largest shareholder, to spin-off part of its entertainment division, the Nikkei newspaper reported.
** Credit Suisse Group AG is in advanced talks to sell its private equity business to Grosvenor Capital Management LP as the bank adapts to stricter rules for managing capital and risk, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
** UK turnaround specialist Melrose Industries is moving ahead with the sale of its U.S. lifting unit Crosby worth about $1 billion and is expected to receive first-round bids in mid-August, three sources familiar with the matter said.
** Europe's largest biotech company Actelion said it will acquire Ceptaris, a privately held U.S.-based specialty pharmaceutical company developing a topical drug, Valchlor, to treat a form of cancer.
** Diageo Plc may be close to a deal that would help it reclaim its dominant position in the global tequila market, according to a senior executive.
** After three aborted privatisation attempts in 19 years, Britain's Royal Mail postal service looks closer than ever to a sale that would end almost five centuries of ties to the state. But the centre-right coalition government must first convince investors, nervous lawmakers and a heavily unionised workforce still opposed to private ownership.
Although the sale proceeds, estimated at 1-1.5 billion pounds ($1.52-2.27 billion), won't make a big dent in Britain's 1.5 trillion pound debt, the opposition Labour party says the deal is being rushed through to improve borrowing figures and that a profitable Royal Mail should stay public.
** Fiat may step up efforts to negotiate a full buyout of majority-owned Chrysler out of court, sources said, after a Delaware judge prolonged the Italian carmaker's legal tussle with a minority shareholder, the UAW union healthcare trust.
** Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc has agreed to pay up to $1.6 billion for Trius Therapeutics Inc and Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc, expanding its heft in antibiotics at a time when the number of drug-resistant viruses are on the rise.
** Germany's Loewe AG has struck a strategic partnership with China's Hisense International Co., Ltd that includes no cash funding, leaving the troubled high-end TV maker still searching for investors, Loewe's chief executive said.
** British utility Centrica Plc sees the United States as a more attractive market for acquisitions than its home ground, it said, implying a shift in focus to North America for one of Britain's largest energy investors.
** Dutch publisher Wolters Kluwer NV plans further investment in Europe, where it sees some pockets of growth, Chief Executive Nancy McKinstry said.
** AstraZeneca Plc took another step to bolster its new drug pipeline by striking a deal with U.S. biotech firm FibroGen potentially worth more than $815 million for rights to an experimental anemia drug.
** Guggenheim Partners has agreed to "enhanced" protections in its purchase of Sun Life Insurance and Annuity Company to safeguard policy holders, paving the way for the state Department of Financial Services to approve the acquisition, New York's top financial regulator said in a statement on Wednesday.
** Talisman Energy Inc said it has opened a data room for potential buyers of its assets in Norway's North Sea, which produce 13,000 barrels of oil per day, adding to current plans to sell stakes in two Canadian shale-gas fields and its stake in Colombia's Ocensa pipeline.
** Chinese bank ICBC is in advanced talks to buy Standard Bank's markets business in London for more than $500 million, sources said, illustrating a growing appetite in China to trade commodities as well as consume them.
** BHP Billiton said it has decided not to sell its Gregory Crinum coal mining complex in Australia, a move that could bode ill for other major miners looking to dump assets amid a sharp downturn in the coal market.
** Spain's second-biggest bank BBVA would analyze the acquisitions of nationalized lenders Catalunya Banc SA and NCG Banco if they were to come up for auction, Chief Executive Angel Cano said.
** CTBC Financial Holding Co Ltd, the parent of Taiwan's top credit card issuer, will acquire the local insurance unit of Manulife Financial Corp for less than T$1 billion ($33 million), said a source with direct knowledge of the deal.
** China's largest bulk shipper, China COSCO Holdings Co Ltd , may sell some of its $1.6-billion property assets to avoid a delisting after it flagged a first-half loss, weighed down by a slump in the global shipping industry.
** Management consulting firm Accenture Plc is in talks to acquire rival Booz & Co, a deal that would beef up its strategy and operations consulting services, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
** Portugal's competition authority approved a merger between cable TV operator Zon Multimedia SGPS SA and Sonaecom SGPS SA's mobile phone unit Optimus that will create the country's second-largest telecoms firm, the companies said.
** Austrian investment group B&C Industrieholding GmbH said it was not interested in buying a stake in Austrian peer EVN AG held by German utility EnBW.
** Citic Securities Co Ltd has completed its acquisition of the remaining 80 percent stake it did not own in brokerage CLSA, the Chinese securities company said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing.
** Singapore's DBS Group Holdings Ltd said it would not pursue a $7.2 billion takeover of Bank Danamon Indonesia Tbk PT, a deal that had been stuck in limbo after regulators threw a spanner in the process.
** New British bank Aldermore reported a surge in profit in the first half and said it was seeking acquisitions to speed up its expansion, setting a target to grow its balance sheet to 5 billion pounds ($7.6 billion) by the end of 2014.
** France's Suez Environnement Co plans further cost cuts to maintain its 2013 profit targets. The company said it is ready to make acquisitions in Europe's waste industry, where asset prices have fallen as the economic crisis bites.
** Royal Dutch Shell Plc will sell at least four more oil blocks in Nigeria in its latest divestment from Africa's top oil exporter, three oil industry sources familiar with the deals said.
** German engineering group Siemens AG will book a one-time gain of about 400 million euros ($530 million) from the sale of its stake in Nokia Siemens Networks in its current financial year, its designated chief executive said.
** HSBC Holdings Plc is struggling to exit its Iraqi operations, having had two proposals to sell its stake in Dar Es Salaam Investment Bank rejected by the country's regulator, according to the Iraq Securities Commission.
** Belarusian potash producer Belaruskali said it had not been consulted by Uralkaliy OAO before the Russian company quit their joint venture and promised a new sales strategy to address the new market conditions.
** Russia's Uralkali could discuss joining with Belarus in a Swiss-based trading company to export potash, but will not return to the Minsk-based venture which broke apart on Tuesday, the Russian firm's CEO said on Wednesday.
** Energizer Holdings Inc said it planned to buy Johnson & Johnson's feminine care brands in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean for $185 million.
** Italian dairy group Parmalat said on Wednesday it had bought Brazil's Balkis Industria e Comercio de Laticinios for 70 million reais ($30.5 million) to boost its gourmet cheese portfolio.
** High-profile fund manager Nicola Horlick has backed the growing crowdfunding market by selling a stake in her latest venture via a website which allows members of the public to invest in small businesses.
British crowdfunding website Seedrs said on Wednesday Horlick had raised 150,000 pounds ($228,900) for a 10 percent stake in her startup fund management company Glentham Capital. (Compiled by Varun Aggarwal and Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore)