(Adds Bouygues, SAP, Baxter International)
March 26 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Wednesday:
** Facebook Inc will acquire two-year-old Oculus VR Inc, a maker of virtual-reality glasses for gaming, for $2 billion, buying its way into the fast-growing wearable devices arena with its first-ever hardware deal.
** Blackstone Group LP is close to a deal to buy industrial conglomerate Gates Global Inc for more than $5.5 billion, people familiar with the matter said, in what would be one of the largest leveraged buyouts so far this year.
** Dish Network Corp Chief Executive Charlie Ergen recently contacted DirecTV CEO Mike White to discuss a possible tie-up of the companies, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. White is reluctant to pursue a deal and no official process is underway, Bloomberg reported.
** Austria is close to a deal to pool its Telekom Austria stake with that of Carlos Slim’s America Movil , Rudolf Kemler, the head of state holding company OIAG and Telekom Austria chairman, said on Wednesday.
** Israel’s anti-trust authority said on Wednesday it will allow Bezeq Israel Telecom to merge with its satellite TV provider YES.
** Coal miner Asia Resource Minerals (ARMS) on Tuesday announced its long-awaited split with the Indonesian family that helped found it, sparking bitter posts on Twitter between a family member and fellow ARMS founder Nat Rothschild.
** AstraZeneca has raised its bet on Japan’s drug market by buying out the remaining stake held by Sumitomo Chemical in its Japanese unit AstraZeneca K.K.
** The New Zealand government said it would sell up to 49 percent of power company Genesis Energy Ltd, earning it up to NZ$800 million ($684.5 million) from the sale.
** Standard Life has bought Ignis Asset Management for 390 million pounds ($644 million), increasing the amount of money it manages by one third as it shifts its business to fund management from insurance.
** Malaysia’s Ranhill Energy signed on Wednesday an agreement for a reverse takeover of outsourcing services firm Symphony House, paving its way to the local bourse after scrapping a planned listing in July 2013.
** China’s Citic Pacific Ltd is planning to acquire assets from its state-owned parent Citic Group Corp , Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the situation.
** Britain sold 4.2 billion pounds ($6.93 billion) of shares in Lloyds Banking Group to cut its stake in the country’s largest retail bank to under 25 percent and put it on course for a complete exit in the next year at a profit.
** Norwegian telecom firm Telenor has sold its business providing encryption and content security for digital TV to Switzerland’s Kudelski for 1.5 billion crowns ($248 million), Telenor said on Wednesday.
** Qatar Islamic Bank has entered into exclusive discussions to acquire a stake in Turkey’s Bank Asya, the Qatari lender said on Wednesday.
** The Australian government said it would sell state-owned health insurer Medibank Private in a public float, which local media have tipped could fetch about A$4 billion ($3.66 billion), but added the structure of the sale was yet to be decided.
** Carlyle Group LP is considering buying a traditional money manager to broaden its own investment platform, as the private equity firm tries to attract more retail investors and achieve the higher stock market valuation commanded by such managers, according to sources familiar with the situation.
** French conglomerate Bouygues is searching for additional investors to further improve its offer to buy its larger French telecom rival Vivendi’s SFR unit, two people familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.
** German business software maker SAP said it was buying technology firm Fieldglass as it continues aggressive growth of its internet-based services offering.
** Medical equipment and pharmaceuticals company Baxter International Inc is exploring a sale of its vaccines business, according to people familiar with the matter, the latest healthcare company to look at divesting non-core assets to focus on key strengths.
** An 818 million euro ($1.13 billion) loan backing the buyout of French veterinary pharmaceutical firm Ceva Sante Animale will be Europe’s first ‘pure’ covenant-lite loan as investors accept riskier structures that offer fewer safeguards, sources said on Wednesday.
** The Ukraine crisis and the possibility of a recession in Russia creates uncertainty for Pirelli’s plans to use a tie-up with oil group Rosneft to expand in the country, seen as a big growth market for the Italian tyre company’s products.
Rosneft agreed to a deal earlier this month to become Pirelli’s single biggest shareholder, offering Pirelli the chance to exploit the Russian company’s big gas station network to sell tyres.
$1 = 1.17 New Zealand dollars $1 = 0.61 British pounds $1 = 1.09 Australian dollars $1 = 0.73 Euros Compiled by Neha Dimri and Sampad Patnaik in Bangalore