March 6 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2100 GMT on Wednesday:
** Johnson Controls Inc is exploring a potential sale of its automotive interiors unit, a move that would allow the diversified manufacturer to focus on higher-margin building controls and next-generation car batteries, three people familiar with the matter said.
** U.S. investment firm Royalty Pharma stood by its offer to acquire Irish drugmaker Elan, which has rejected the approach, and said it was ready to move quickly and could complete due diligence within 20 days.
** The sale of ING Groep’s South Korean unit is set to be revived after private equity-backed Tong Yang Life Insurance Co Ltd said it was considering whether to buy the business, which is valued at about $2.1 billion.
** Debt collector Encore Capital Group Inc has agreed to buy Asset Acceptance Capital Corp for $200 million to strengthen its position in a highly fragmented industry.
** Kroenke Sports & Entertainment LLC said on Wednesday that it had delivered a definitive counter proposal to buy Outdoor Channel Holdings for $8.75 per share in cash, challenging a purchase offer by Leo Hindrey’s InterMedia.
** EBX, the conglomerate that manages Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista’s stakes in mining, oil and logistics companies, and BP Products North America Inc of the BP Group have signed an agreement to form a 50-50 joint venture to trade marine fuels.
** A special committee of Dell Inc’s board of directors said on Wednesday after a months-long evaluation that the best alternative for shareholders would be a sale of the PC maker.
Activist investor Carl Icahn has built a stake that was likely around 100 million shares in Dell and wants the personal computer maker to conduct a leveraged recapitalization, complicating founder Michael Dell’s effort to take the company private, CNBC reported.
** Verizon Communications Inc has weighed several options involving its relationship with Vodafone Group Plc and its joint ownership of Verizon Wireless ranging from ending its wireless venture with the European company to a full merger with Vodafone, Bloomberg reported.
** Private equity firms including Blackstone Group LP and Carlyle Group have teamed up and are exploring a joint offer for Life Technologies Corp, the biomedical laboratory equipment maker with a $10 billion market value, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
** The Czech government plans to sell a minority stake in flag carrier Czech Airlines (CSA) to Korean Air, the only party interested in the loss-making airline, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said on Wednesday.
** More than ten firms have approached Nyrstar hoping to secure the exclusive rights to a portion of the world’s largest zinc producer’s output worth an estimated $700 million a year, sources said.
While official negotiations over the offtake have not yet started, commodity traders Trafigura, CWT Ltd’s MRI and Louis Dreyfus said they are interested in bidding for the deal, which includes 350,000 tonnes a year of Nyrstar’s European zinc production.
** North American and Spanish banks are lining up to bid on City National Bank of Florida over the next few days, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Banks that are expecting to bid include Canadian bank TD Bank, Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based BB&T Corp , Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group as well as Spanish banks Banco Sabadell and Banco Popular.
** Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals, in the throes of a C$5.1 billion bid for rival Inmet Mining Corp , said on Wednesday it was confident the hostile bid would succeed, a week after extending the offer.
** Carmaker Fiat’s Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on Wednesday that if he agrees to buy the stake in its U.S. unit Chrysler that Fiat does not already own, then the two could merge by the end of this year.
** Alamos Gold Inc said it was close to blocking Hecla Mining Co’s rival bid for Aurizon Mines Ltd , and had the support of other “large shareholders.” Alamos said it had 29.5 percent Aurizon shares as on Tuesday afternoon, including the 16.11 percent stake it already held in the company.
** Chinese Internet portal Sohu.com Inc denied a media report on Wednesday that the company is talking to investment banks and private equity funds about a possible plan to take the company private.
** Israel’s IDB Development Corp sold its remaining 10.64 percent stake in Clal Industries and Investments (CII) to an unnamed institution for 223 million shekels ($60 million).
** Elliott Advisors (UK), the biggest investor in National Express, said it was selling half of its near 20 percent stake in the British transport group to diversify its portfolio.
** German antitrust regulators again postponed a ruling on a plan by hospital operator Asklepios to take a stake of up to 10.1 percent in rival Rhoen-Klinikum.