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July 18 (Reuters) - The following corporate finance-related stories were reported by media:
* State-backed Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc is shuttering a distressed-debt unit as it continues to shrink its investment bank, Bloomberg reported, citing three people familiar with the matter.
* Blackstone Group LP, KKR & Co LP and TPG Capital LP are in talks to settle a U.S. lawsuit accusing them of conspiring not to outbid each other and other buyout firms on takeovers of companies, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
* Shire Plc and U.S. drugmaker Abbvie Inc plan to announce a $53 billion merger as soon as Friday morning, two people said on Thursday.
* Fiat Chrysler has denied a magazine report saying it's in merger talks with Volkswagen, while the German carmaker said it had no takeovers on its agenda.
* 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.
* In the latest sign of financial pressures in the legal industry, the 123-year-old Boston law firm Bingham McCutchen is seeking a merger with another top U.S. firm and has reached out to at least four in the past three months, sources told Reuters.
* Private equity firm Sycamore Partners is in talks with regional discount store operator Fred's Inc about a potential takeover, according to people familiar with the matter.
* German car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen AG can raise its bid for U.S.-based TRW Automotive Holdings Corp to as much as $13 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
* Australia's Asciano Ltd said it is in talks to sell a stake in its ports and logistics business, with media reporting state-run China Merchants Group Ltd is interested and that a deal may be worth up to A$1.1 billion ($1 billion).
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