Sept 12 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Thursday:
** Britain embarked on its largest privatization in decades as the government unveiled plans to sell the majority of the near 500-year-old state-owned Royal Mail postal service. The Department for Business said a stock market flotation would take place in the coming weeks, giving the public a chance to buy into the postal network.
It said the size of the sale would depend on market conditions and analysts suggested the flotation could value Royal Mail at between 2 billion pounds and 3 billion pounds ($3-$4.7 billion).
** Michael Dell clinched shareholders’ approval on Thursday for his $25 billion offer to buy and take Dell Inc private, ending months of bitter conflict with the company’s largest investors and removing the uncertainty shrouding the world’s No. 3 PC maker.
** Shoppers Drug Mart Corp shareholders on Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favor of Loblaw Co Ltd’s C$12.4 billion ($12.02 billion) bid to buy Canada’s largest pharmacy chain.
** Vodafone said it has secured the 75 percent of shares in Kabel Deutschland needed for its 7.7 billion-euro ($10 billion) offer for Germany’s largest cable company to succeed.
** Dutch telecoms company KPN is in talks with Mexico’s America Movil over the latter’s 7.2 billion-euro ($9.6 billion) takeover offer, the two sides said on Thursday, although both cautioned the outcome was unclear.
** Smithfield Foods Inc said an independent proxy advisory firm recommended that shareholders vote for the pork producer’s $4.7 billion sale to China’s Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd, citing the high offer price.
** Private equity investor 3i Group has offered to buy the shares in Scandlines it does not already own, after an attempt to find a buyer for the ferry group failed earlier this summer, it said. 3i’s bid for the 50 percent stake held by co-owner Allianz Capital Partners values Scandlines at more than the 1.3 billion euros ($1.7 billion) that buyout group TPG offered for the whole company, a source familiar with the transaction said.
** Societe Generale, France’s No. 2 listed bank, is exploring the sale of its Asia private banking arm, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, seeking to exit a market where small managers are getting hit by rising costs and competition. The Singapore-based division could fetch around $600 million, they said, though the actual sale price has yet to be determined and may exceed that figure.
** Private equity firms KKR & Co LP and Sycamore Partners are considering a joint bid for Jones Group, the fashion and footwear company that owns retail chains Nine West and Jones New York, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
** Saudi Telecom Co has resolved a tussle with creditors over a $1.2 billion loan tied to its Indonesian unit, Axis Telekom, by offering to repay about 90 percent of the loan mainly through a sale of the arm, sources familiar with the matter said.
** Encana Corp, Canada’s largest gas producer, on Thursday signaled a potential sale of dry natural gas assets as it focuses on more-lucrative oil and gas liquids and cutting the number of properties it owns.
** The shareholders of Impregilo approved the Italian builder’s tie-up with its family-owned peer Salini to create a global player in the construction sector, with the merger to be finalized by the end of this year.
** The Japanese majority owner of Indonesian aluminum producer PT Inalum said there was still a big gap to bridge in talks to sell its stake to the Indonesian government, with less than two months to go before their joint venture agreement expires
** Russia’s Norilsk Nickel, the world’s biggest nickel producer, said it plans to slim down and focus on its top assets, joining other big mining companies in shedding businesses in the face of weak metals prices. Under its new strategy announced on Thursday, Norilsk stuck to its plan to sell off assets in Africa and Australia, despite the failure to close any deals in recent months.
** Umpqua Holdings Corp has agreed to buy private equity-backed Sterling Financial Corp in a $2 billion cash-and-stock deal, the companies said on Wednesday.
** U.S. oil and gas producer Linn Energy LLC said it would buy oil and natural gas assets in the Permian Basin, extending across West Texas and southeast New Mexico, for $525 million to raise its exposure to lucrative oil.
** Halcon Resources Corp said it would sell leases in oil and natural gas reserves for $303 million. The sales involve three transactions that are expected to close in the fourth quarter. Halcon did not disclose the buyers.
** Russia’s state-backed private equity fund RDIF and Deutsche Bank will pay a maximum of $241 million for a 2.45 percent stake in telecoms operator Rostelecom, financial daily Kommersant reported.
** Bega Cheese Ltd announced a A$319 million ($297 million) off-market takeover offer for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co Holdings Ltd in a move to create one of Australia’s biggest listed food companies.
** Lockheed Martin Corp on Wednesday announced the acquisition of Scotland-based Amor Group, a privately held information technology company, saying the deal would aid its plans to expand internationally and into non-defense markets.
Lockheed did not disclose the terms of the acquisition, but said it was not material to the company.
** Genband, a developer of multimedia and cloud communications software, has acquired Fring’s Internet-based mobile communications service, which works on all major smartphones. Genband did not disclose financial details but a market source who asked not to be named told Reuters the price was $50 million.
** Belgian chemicals manufacturer Tessenderlo Group said it had sold its British PVC window and doorframe businesses to private investment firm H2 Equity Partners, completing the entire sale of these activities worldwide. Tessenderlo gave no financial details about the divestment.