April 5 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Friday:
** Blackstone Group will visit Dell Inc’s headquarters on Monday to begin an in-depth analysis of the company, sources said, a strong sign the buyout firm is proceeding with an offer that could upset founder Michael Dell’s $24.4 billion buyout bid.
** German media group Bertelsmann and British publisher Pearson secured unconditional EU regulatory clearance on Friday to merge their publishers Random House and Penguin to better compete with rivals Amazon and Apple .
** Telecom Italia is in contact with Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa over a possible tie-up with its Italian mobile phone business.
** Italian luxury brand Gucci has offered to buy distressed porcelain maker Richard Ginori 1735 and relaunch the centuries-old brand in the home design market.
** The French government has approached the country’s banks and insurers about forming a consortium to buy at least 34 percent of the Euronext stock exchange, due to be spun off in a public offering, sources close to the matter said on Friday.
** Banco Espirito Santo, Portugal’s second largest listed bank by assets, has presented a binding bid for a small Spanish bank Banco Gallego, BES said in a statement on Friday.
** Nuclear waste manager EnergySolutions Inc agreed to be taken private by investment firm Energy Capital Partners at a higher price, and said the deal now has the backing of its largest shareholder. Energy Capital raised its offer by 40 cents to $4.15 per share in cash, valuing EnergySolutions’s equity at about $378 million.
** Fisker Automotive, the struggling, government-backed hybrid sports car maker, terminated most of its rank-and-file employees on Friday, in a last-ditch effort to conserve cash and stave off a potential bankruptcy filing, sources said.
** French oil major Total has reached a definitive agreement to sell its TIGF gas transport and storage unit to a group led by Italian gas transport group Snam, French power company EDF, also part of the acquiring group, said on Friday.
No price was disclosed for the sale to a consortium which also includes Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC. In February, Total said Snam’s offer valued the business at 2.4 billion euros.
** Telecom Italia has made contact with Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa to study a possible fusion with its 3 Italia unit, the Italian company said on Friday.
Hutchison Whampoa’s loss-making 3 Italia, also known as HG3, is estimated to be worth between 1.5 billion euros ($1.93 billion) and 2 billion euros ($2.57 billion).
** Yankee Candle Co Inc has attracted offers from several private equity firms in a sale process that could value the largest scented candle maker in the United States at about $2 billion, people familiar with the matter said.
Bain Capital LLC, Advent International Corp, CVC Capital Partners Ltd, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC and Ares Management LLC have made it through the first round of bidding and are set to meet with Yankee Candle’s management over the next few weeks, the sources said.
** Private equity groups 3i and Allianz Capital Partners have attracted three tentative bids for their jointly-owned ferry group Scandlines, a person close to the transaction said.
3i and ACP each own 50 percent of the southern Baltic’s largest ferry group, which carries roughly 12 million passengers annually. In October, the investors appointed Goldman Sachs and ING to organise the sale, hoping to get up to 1.4 billion euros ($1.80 billion) for the group.
** Australia’s Sundance Resources is poised to walk away from a $1.4 billion takeover by China’s Hanlong Group, analysts said, after the deal was blighted by a series of regulatory hurdles, financing problems and market volatility.
** Norwegian fish farmer Cermaq agreed to take over Copeinca, a Peruvian producer of fishmeal and fish oil, beating out China Fishery Group with a bid that values the firm at $600 million.
** Kenya’s government plans to sell a stake in a wines and spirits marketer to South Africa’s Distell Group and to offload its shareholdings in three luxury hotels, its Privatization Commission said on Friday.
The commission did not say how much it expects to raise. The sales were first announced in 2011 as part of a plan to help improve the state’s finances and to transfer the running of businesses to the country’s private sector.
** Rio Tinto has hired investment bank Macquarie to sell its majority stake in the Northparkes copper mine in Australia, a source familiar with the matter said, adding to a growing list of planned divestments. The mine has been valued by analysts at $300 million to $400 million.
** Revised takeover offers for Australia’s Billabong International Ltd have come in considerably lower than indicative bids, with the highest valuing the struggling surfwear firm at only A$287 million ($300 million), the Australian Financial Review reported on Friday.
** Romania launched the sale of a majority stake in indebted rail freight carrier CFR Marfa, as agreed under an IMF-led aid deal, setting a starting price of 797.1 million lei ($231.9 million).
** Restructuring specialist Hilco is set to throw British entertainment retailer HMV a lifeline in a 50 million pound ($75.90 million) deal that will save 2,500 jobs, Sky News reported.
** Private equity firm Nordic Capital said on Friday its Fund VIII had struck a deal to buy Danish logistics company Unifeeder from Montagu Private Equity for an undisclosed price.