(Adds Allergan, Fox, Forbes, Catalunya Banc, Encana, Daniel Loeb, Chi, Coal India)
July 18 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Friday:
** Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc moved to blunt a key criticism by takeover target Allergan Inc of its Bausch + Lomb business by releasing data showing strong sales growth.
** Twenty-First Century Fox cannot buy publisher Tribune Co or its Los Angeles Times newspaper, Fox Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch wrote on Twitter, citing U.S. laws on media ownership.
** Forbes magazine’s publisher has agreed to sell a majority stake of its media business to a Hong Kong-based group of investors for an undisclosed sum, Forbes Media said, capping an eight-month hunt for a buyer for the company.
** Nigerian drinks company Chi Ltd is exploring options including a potential sale that could value it at as much as $1 billion, according to sources familiar with the matter.
** Daniel Loeb, head of hedge fund firm Third Point LLC, said in his quarterly investor letter that Argentina is likely to reach an agreement with its holdout creditors by year-end and that his $14 billion firm has taken a stake in Argentine oil company YPF SA, in addition to stakes in Mexican REIT Fibra Uno and in Dutch life sciences company Royal DSM.
** Spanish banks Caixabank and Banco Santander are the frontrunners to buy bailed-out lender Catalunya Banc in the government’s third attempt to sell it, sources with knowledge of the process said.
** Encana Corp , Canada’s largest natural gas producer, may sell its Deep Panuke natural gas project, off the coast of Nova Scotia, by year-end, Bloomberg News reported on its website, citing unidentified sources. The company is working with financial advisers and could begin a formal sales process within months, with a deal raising as much as $2 billion completed by year-end, Bloomberg reported.
** Unions representing workers at Coal India Ltd, the world’s largest coal miner, will oppose any move to sell a stake in the state-owned company as part of the new government’s plan to shore up its finances, a union leader said.
** U.S. drugmaker AbbVie bought Dublin-based Shire on Friday in a 32 billion-pound ($54.7 billion) deal that will allow it to slash its tax bill by relocating to Britain.
** Taiwan’s Far EasTone Telecommunications Co Ltd and Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia are seeking a loan of up to T$48 billion ($1.60 billion) to fund their bid for China Network Systems Co Ltd (CNS), Basis Point reported on Friday citing banking sources with knowledge of the deal.
The two companies are seeking to buy the stake in network television company CNS from South Korean private equity firm MBK Partners LP, the people said.
** Britain’s Co-operative Group has agreed to sell its pharmacy business to private owned Bestway Group for 620 million pounds ($1.06 billion), providing funds for it to cut debt and invest in its core businesses, it said.
** Global brewer SABMiller Plc sold its $1 billion stake in South Africa’s top gaming and hotel group Tsogo Sun on Friday, disposing of a non-core business and giving it some cash to beef up its beer business in fast-growing Africa.
** The supervisory board chairman of Porsche Automobil Holding SE, which owns 50.7 percent of Volkswagen , said he was unaware of any talks between the German carmaker and Italy’s Fiat Chrysler.
** Australia’s Asciano Ltd said it was in talks to sell a stake in its ports and logistics business, with media reporting that state-run China Merchants Group Ltd is interested and that a deal may be worth up to A$1.1 billion ($1 billion).
** Australia’s New South Wales state government is evaluating bids for two power stations, a spokeswoman said on Thursday. Sources had said the assets could sell for about A$1 billion.
** Privately held U.S. event marketing company Advanstar, which puts on trade shows in industries such as fashion and healthcare, is exploring a sale that could fetch more than $900 million, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
** Gentiva Health Services Inc rejected Kindred Healthcare Inc’s offer to buy a stake in the home healthcare service provider in favor of a $634.2 million buyout offer from an unnamed party.
** Suez Environnement has agreed to buy the remaining stake in its Spanish water unit, Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar), from La Caixa, which will in turn become the French waste and water group’s second-biggest shareholder. Suez said it would pay for the 24.1 percent stake in Agbar with 22 million new Suez shares and 299 million euros ($404 million) in cash, giving La Caixa a 4.1 percent holding in the French company that it plans to raise to 7 percent in the near-term.
** South Korea’s government has raised about $353 million by selling a stake in Industrial Bank of Korea, according to a term sheet of the deal seen by Reuters.
** Fujitsu Ltd plans to transfer its main Mie semiconductor plant in central Japan to a joint venture it will set up with Taiwan’s United Microelectronics Corp, sources familiar with the matter said.
** CBS Corp Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said on Thursday that the media company would take a look at Time Warner Inc’s cable news network CNN if was put on sale as part of a merger with Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc .
** French food group Danone said it was buying a 40 percent stake in Brookside, East Africa’s top dairy producer, as part of plans to expand in new markets while growth is weak in Europe and the economy slows in China.
** South Africa-based retail group Pepkor Ltd has bought troubled New Zealand clothing retailer Postie Plus Group Ltd , Postie’s administrators said.
** U.S. private equity firm General Atlantic is in talks to buy a 2 to 5 percent stake each in India’s Just Dial Ltd and Info Edge India Ltd, two sources with direct knowledge of the discussions said.
** Kenya has agreed to sell a 26 percent stake in a wines and spirits marketer to South Africa’s Distell Group for 860 million shillings ($9.81 million), Kenya’s Privatisation Commission said on Friday.
** Slovenia’s largest telecoms company Telekom Slovenia bought Bosnian telecoms firm Telrad Net d.o.o., expanding its business in Bosnia where Telekom already provides telecom and internet services. ($1 = 1.0656 Australian Dollars) ($1 = 0.7390 Euros) ($1 = 0.5845 British Pounds) (Compiled by Ankit Ajmera, Rohit T.K. and Amrutha Gayathri in Bangalore)