Deals of the day-Mergers and acquisitions

(Adds Ascopiave; Updates Pfizer, Sotheby’s, Keane)

June 17 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2015 GMT on Monday:

** Italian regional utility Ascopiave said it had agreed to place its retail gas and power clients in a joint venture with larger peer Hera in return for a series of gas distribution assets in the north east.

** Pfizer Inc said it would buy Array Biopharma Inc for $10.64 billion in cash, a deal it hopes will help make it a leader in colon cancer and build up its pipeline of oncology drugs.

** Franco-Israeli cable magnate Patrick Drahi made a surprise move into the art world by snapping up Sotheby’s in a deal worth $3.7 billion, marking the art auction house’s return to private ownership after 31 years.

** Oilfield services provider Keane Group Inc will merge with rival C&J Energy Services in a $746 million deal, giving the companies the much-needed pricing heft in an industry grappling with budget cuts by crude producers.

** U.S. regional bank Prosperity Bancshares Inc said it would buy Plano, Texas-based peer LegacyTexas Financial Group Inc for $2.1 billion that would create the second-biggest bank by deposits in the state.

** Thai oil and gas firm, PTT Exploration and Production Pcl said it would buy Partex Holding B.V. from Libson-based Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for $622 million, its latest acquisition of upstream and midstream assets.

** Australia’s AGL Energy Ltd withdrew a proposal to buy Vocus Group, just days after it offered A$3.02 billion ($2.08 billion) for the telecoms firm, knocking Vocus shares down by a third.

** U.S. industrial manufacturer Crane Co said it continues to prefer a “negotiated transaction” with Circor International Inc’s board, weeks after making a $894 million hostile bid for the smaller rival.

** Gene therapy company UniQure NV is exploring options including a sale amid interest from other pharmaceutical companies looking to expand in gene therapy, Bloomberg reported on Sunday citing people with knowledge of the matter.

** Kier Group will sell its housebuilding and property businesses, cut about 1,200 jobs and suspend its dividend for at least two years in a radical overhaul designed to lower debt and stabilise the business.

** Credit Suisse said it was in advanced talks on the future of investment product platform InvestLab.

** British engineering services group Babcock International Group Plc confirmed that it had rejected an offer by rival Serco Group in January to combine the two companies in a deal that would have created a company worth 4 billion pounds ($5 billion).

** European buyout group Nordic Capital has agreed to acquire a majority stake in U.S. healthcare software company ArisGlobal LLC, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing a person familiar with the matter. (Compiled by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru)