(Adds Medtronic, EDF, UniCredit, Zimmer Holdings, Bank of Cyprus, Orange, Lafarge, Pemex, Idea Cellular, Rosneft, Dubai Islamic Bank; updates Ciech, NRG Yield)
June 4 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Wednesday:
** Medical device maker Medtronic Inc is looking at a takeover of London-based Smith & Nephew PLC, a move that could help lower its taxes by moving its base overseas, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
** London-based private equity firm Pamplona Capital Management LLP has cut its stake in Italy’s biggest bank by assets, UniCredit, to 1.9 percent from 4.9 percent, according to a filing posted on the website of market watchdog Consob.
** France’s EDF aims to sell as early as the end of June a 70 percent stake in Italian unit Edison’s wind farms to local infrastructure fund F2i, two sources with direct knowledge of the talks said on Wednesday.
** Canadian private equity firm Fulcrum Capital Partners said on Wednesday it has acquired a majority interest in privately-held Canadian defence and infrastructure firm Weatherhaven Global Resources, a maker of portable shelters.
** European Union antitrust regulators will decide by July 9 whether to clear U.S. orthopedic products maker Zimmer Holdings Inc’s $13.4 billion bid for Biomet Inc, one of several recent takeovers in the pharmaceutical industry. The deal will push Zimmer up to the No. 2 spot behind Johnson & Johnson.
** French telecoms firm Orange has hired investment banks Lazard and Credit Suisse to assess a potential purchase of rival Bouygues Telecom BOUY.PA, a deal that could top 6 billion euros ($8.2 billion), two people close to the situation said.
** Bailed-out Bank of Cyprus, which is refocusing on its domestic operations, said it had taken no formal decision to dispose of its Russian subsidiary. Chief Executive John Hourican was quoted in the Financial Times newspaper on Wednesday as saying that Bank of Cyprus would “seek a new owner” for Uniastrum Bank, acquired in 2008.
** The Nigerian unit of French cement maker Lafarge SA plans to seek shareholders’ approval in July to raise 100 billion naira in public offer of debt or equity, Lafarge Wapco said on Wednesday. Lafarge announced plans late on Tuesday to combine its South Africa business with Lafarge Wapco, in a deal worth $1.35 billion, and listing its Africa interests together on the Nigerian bourse.
** Poland’s state treasury confirmed on Wednesday it had sold its entire 37.9 percent stake in chemical maker Ciech to Jan Kulczyk, Poland’s richest man, raising 619 million zlotys ($203.12 million) from the sale.
Kulczyk, has agreed to buy 51.1 percent of the state-controlled chemical firm in a public bid for its shares, the broker involved in the deal said in a statement on Wednesday.
** Mexican oil giant Pemex plans to sell its remaining 1.4 percent stake in Spanish peer Repsol in August, two sources at Pemex said on Wednesday. Pemex sold 7.86 percent of Repsol, worth around $3 billion, to unspecified private investors earlier on Wednesday
Pemex decided to sell nearly all of its stake in Repsol due to disagreements over the management of the company and low returns on its investment, Pemex said on Wednesday.
** Indian mobile phone operator Idea Cellular Ltd plans to launch a share sale to raise as much as $500 million on Thursday to part fund its capital expenditure including a purchase of mobile radiowaves, three people involved in the deal said.
** Turkey’s Cukurova Holding said on Wednesday it was in talks with undisclosed institutions to arrange financing to pay Russia’s Alfa Group in order to recover a disputed stake in Turkish mobile phone operator Turkcell. Cukurova, which made the statement to the Istanbul stock exchange, has been ordered to pay around $1.6 billion to recover the disputed controlling stake in Turkcell, Turkey’s biggest mobile phone operator.
** Vitaliy Baylarbayov, deputy vice-president at Azeri state oil company SOCAR, told Reuters that Rosneft, Russia’s top crude producer, might seek a stake in the Absheron gas project and could use the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline for its oil deliveries to Europe. “Rosneft has an interest and is considering participation in the Absheron project,” Baylarbayov said.
** Dubai Islamic Bank has completed the purchase of a 24.9 percent stake in Indonesia’s Bank Panin Syariah from its parent firm, an executive at Bank Pan Indonesia was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
** Bankers are preparing debt financing packages of up to 200 million pounds ($334.78 million) to back a potential sale of British auction house Bonhams, banking sources said on Wednesday.
** Funds managed by Brazilian buyout firm Tarpon Investimentos SA agreed to buy a stake in education company Abril Educação SA worth 607 million reais ($268 million) from controlling shareholders including the founding Civita family.
** The RAG Foundation, a German public-sector trust, said it would reduce its stake in Evonik as it balances the need to diversify its investment risks with the desire to keep control over Germany’s second-largest chemical maker. The foundation’s head, former German economic affairs minister Werner Mueller, said on Wednesday RAG’s executive board had received the go-ahead from trustees to cut its Evonik stake to 60 percent over the medium term, from 68 percent currently.
** American Lawyer publisher ALM Media, which was once controlled by Bruce Wasserstein, has been sold to the late Wall Street dealmaker’s investment firm Wasserstein & Co, the companies said in a statement. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. The New York Times reported the acquisition price was around $417 million, citing a source briefed on the matter.
** Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co has agreed to buy U.S. peer Protective Life Corp for $5.7 billion, the largest acquisition by a Japanese insurer, displaying its determination to grow overseas to counter weak prospects at home. Dai-ichi Life, Japan’s second largest private-sector life insurer, said it would issue up to 250 billion yen ($2.4 billion) in new shares to help finance the widely expected purchase of Protective Life.
** Private equity companies CVC and KKR & Co are considering bids for assets Holcim Ltd and Lafarge SA must sell to get the go-ahead for their merger, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday. The report said CVC and KKR were considering a $6.8 billion bid for some of the assets to be sold by cement makers Paris-based Lafarge and Holcim of Switzerland, as part of the planned merger.
** Cement maker Holcim will win EU antitrust approval for acquiring the German operations of Mexican rival Cemex, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said, as one side of a swap that gives Cemex assets in Spain.
** NRG Yield Inc will buy Alta Wind Energy Center, the largest wind farm in North America for $870 million, helping parent NRG Energy Inc bulk up its clean energy portfolio and comply with strict air emission rules.
** Bicycles-to-car-parts group Halfords Group PLC said it had bought Boardman Bikes, the range founded by British Olympic gold medalist Chris Boardman. Halfords declined to comment on the price paid for the business, but a source close to the company told Reuters the deal was worth between 10 million pounds and 15 million pounds ($16.8 million and $25 million).
** Stifel Financial Corp said it would buy asset manager Legg Mason Inc’s investment advisory unit to expand its wealth management business. Legg Mason Investment Counsel & Trust Co will become part of Stifel’s global wealth management business after the deal, terms of which were not disclosed.
** Swiss travel retailer Dufry AG is buying rival Nuance Group for 1.55 billion Swiss francs ($1.73 billion), expanding its presence in Asia and cementing its position as the world’s largest duty-free retailer ahead of Hong Kong-based DFS Group. The purchase marks a lucrative exit for private equity group PAI Partners and GECOS - part of Italian retailer GruppoPam - which have jointly owned Nuance since a 2011 buyout that valued the company at 676 million francs.
** Volkswagen AG said it raised 2 billion euros ($2.72 billion) from a share sale to help fund its long-planned takeover of Swedish truckmaker Scania AB. VW said on Wednesday it had issued 10.47 million new preference shares at 191 euros each in an accelerated book building with institutional investors, a move that confirmed an earlier Reuters report.
** Singapore-listed Frasers Centrepoint Ltd made a surprise A$2.6 billion ($2.41 billion) cash takeover bid for Australia’s Australand Property Group, trumping an offer from Australian firm Stockland Corp Ltd. Backed by Thai beer billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, Frasers Centrepoint made its offer less than a week after Stockland upped its bid to A$2.5 billion, Australand said in a statement on Wednesday.
** Hutchison Whampoa Ltd has resumed talks with Russian telecoms group Vimpelcom Ltd over merging their Italian mobile firms, encouraged by Hutchison’s 3 getting the go-ahead last week for an acquisition in Ireland, according to several people familiar with the situation.
** The administrators of troubled New Zealand clothing retailer Postie Plus Group Ltd said on Wednesday they had found a likely buyer for the company. The struggling company called in administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers on Tuesday after its bank refused to back the retail chain, which has been racking up losses and losing market share for the past two years. The stock last traded at 7.3 NZ cents a share, valuing the company at NZ$2.9 million ($2.5 million).
** American Securities LLC is in advanced talks to acquire specialty chemicals company Emerald Performance Materials LLC from private equity peer Sun Capital Partners Inc for more than $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
($1 = 0.5974 British Pounds)
($1 = 0.8969 Swiss Francs)
($1 = 3.0475 Polish Zlotys)
($1 = 102.4300 Japanese Yen)
($1 = 0.7349 Euros)
($1 = 1.0809 Australian Dollars)
$1 = 1.1860 New Zealand Dollars Compiled by Lehar Maan and Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore