Oct 9 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 1500 GMT on Wednesday:
** Telecom Italia is considering a sale of its 67 percent stake in Brazilian mobile carrier Tim Participacoes in a bid to reduce its heavy debt, said a person familiar with the matter. The Italian operator, which was downgraded to junk on Tuesday by Moody’s credit rating agency, aims to garner at least 9 billion euros ($12.16 billion) from the sale, the person said.
** Westpac Banking Corp is in pole position to pick up the Australian assets being sold by Lloyds Banking Group , three sources with knowledge of the situation said. Lloyds is selling its corporate loan book, motor and equipment financing businesses in Australia with a face value of A$8.5 billion ($8 billion), other sources had said.
** JPMorgan Chase & Co has launched the sale of its physical commodities business, circulating offering documents to potential buyers and valuing the assets at $3.3 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.
** Funding for Apollo Tyres’ $2.5 billion bid for U.S.-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co is in jeopardy unless the deal price is cut to reflect the risk of higher costs stemming from labour issues, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. The Indian tyre maker has lined up funding from Deutsche Bank , Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered Plc.
** Men’s Wearhouse Inc rejected smaller rival Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc’s $2.3 billion takeover offer, saying it significantly undervalued the company and could raise antitrust issues. The $48 per share all-cash offer was a 36 percent premium to the closing price of Men’s Wearhouse common stock on Tuesday.
** Indonesia’s PT Bumi Resources said China’s sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp (CIC), has agreed to convert part of an outstanding $1.3 billion loan into stakes in the miner’s PT Bumi Resources Minerals unit, its coal mines and a small stake in Bumi Resources itself.
** The German cartel office, the country’s anti-trust watchdog, has started an extended probe into the $1.25 billion sale of Axel Spinger’s magazines and regional newspapers to Germany’s Funke Mediengruppe, a spokesman told Reuters.
** CACI International said it would buy Six3 Systems Inc from private equity firm GTCR for about $820 million to strengthen its intelligence support services to the U.S. government.
** Private equity group KKR has launched a new attempt to find a buyer for loss making car repair chain Auto-Teile Unger (ATU) in a bid to draw a line under an ill-fated investment, sources said. Potential bids will need to compete against a proposal from ATU’s creditors, which are offering to swap some of the company’s debt of around 600 million euros ($810.99 million) for equity.
** Italy’s ERG said it will sell its remaining stake of 20 percent in the ISAB oil refinery in Sicily to Russia’s Lukoil for 400 million euros ($540.7 million) and complete its transformation into a renewable energy company.
** Nestle is looking to sell its Jenny Craig diet business and is speaking to a small group of potential buyers about the brand, according to three sources familiar with the matter. The potential sale comes after the world’s largest food group said last week that divesting low-performing businesses was a top strategic priority.
** Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc disclosed a 2.8 percent passive stake in Goldman Sachs Group Inc as it converted warrants acquired during the financial crisis. Buffett received the warrants five years ago when his investment in Goldman was seen as a vote of confidence in the bank, which was reeling from turmoil in the credit market.
** U.S. tax preparer H&R Block Inc is planning to terminate the sale of its banking assets to a unit of Republic Bancorp Inc, sending shares down 6 percent in extended trading. H&R Block in July said it would sell its banking unit to avoid a sharp rise in costs associated with the introduction of stricter banking rules by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
** Manila Electric Co (Meralco), the Philippines’ biggest power utility, said its wholly owned unit, Meralco PowerGen Corp, has agreed to buy 20 percent of the power generation arm of conglomerate GT Capital Holdings Inc . Meralco did not disclose the acquisition cost and other terms of the deal.
** Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Bharti Enterprises are breaking up their Indian joint venture, leaving the world’s biggest retailer to go it alone in a country where it has struggled to build a bigger presence. Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, will acquire Bharti’s 50 percent stake in Bharti Wal-Mart Pvt Ltd, which runs about 20 wholesale stores in India under the Best Price Modern Wholesale brand, and will run the business independently.
** Britain’s Wood Group has formed a $1.1 billion joint venture with Europe’s largest engineering company, Siemens AG, to provide services for gas turbines, aiming to strengthen a division that has been hit by project delays.
** Shareholders in Bahrain’s Al Salam Bank have approved a plan to raise the bank’s capital by 100 million dinars ($265 million) by issuing new shares as part of a merger with fellow Bahraini lender BMI Bank, Al Salam said on Wednesday. Shareholders also approved the acquisition of all of BMI’s 58.5 million shares through a share swap in exchange for 643.8 million shares in Al Salam, it added.
** Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev rejected opposition calls to nationalise the country’s flagship venture with Centerra Gold, saying his opponents were using the dispute with the Canadian investor to grab power.
** KKR & Co will buy a minority stake in Weststar Aviation Services in a deal that gives the U.S. private equity firm its first deal in Malaysia and a piece of a company that arranges helicopter charter flights for the region’s energy sector. KKR said in a statement that the two companies will take part in a signing ceremony on Thursday, though the firm did not disclose the price it is paying. People familiar with the matter said KKR will pay around 650 million ringgit ($203.4 million).
** Italian online fashion retailer Yoox denied it was in talks with Swiss luxury goods group Richemont over a possible all-paper merger with competitor Net-a-Porter.
** Greece’s Aegean Airlines will complete the acquisition of its loss-making rival Olympic Air within two weeks, Olympic’s owner Marfin Investment Group said in a statement.
Spanish construction group FCC and lender Bankia are looking to sell their controlling stake in property firm Realia and are close to hiring an adviser, three people familiar with the situation said. The builder and bailed-out lender together own nearly 58 percent of Realia, one of the few Spanish property groups to have so far survived a 2008 real estate crash. [ID: nL6N0HZ1M0]
** The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development wants to buy a stake of up to 7.5 percent in Poland’s PKP Cargo in the freight company’s Warsaw share sale later this month, it said in a statement. Poland’s state railway operator PKP, which is selling just under 50 percent of its cargo unit through an initial public offering (IPO), said EBRD would take at least a 5 percent stake.
** Chinese Internet company Alibaba Group has invested 1.18 billion yuan ($192.78 million) to buy fund management company Tianhong Asset Management Co, Tianhong shareholder Inner Mongolia Junzheng Energy & Chemical Industry Co said in a statement.
** SolarCity Corp said it will acquire Zep Solar, a maker of mounting systems for residential solar panels, for about $158 million in stock.
** PSA Peugeot Citroen said it is in talks on potential new overseas partnerships, after a Chinese newspaper reported that Dongfeng Motor Co may buy a 30 percent stake.
** U.S. private equity firm Blackstone is among potential bidders for a minority stake in Italian fashion house Versace, sources told Reuters. Versace, which is selling a 15-20 percent stake to fund growth, is yet to draw up a short list of potential buyers and is still considering expressions of interest, other sources said.
** Talks between U.S. drug distributor McKesson and the owner of Celesio over a possible bid for the German company could drag on for weeks, people familiar with the matter said. Sources also said McKesson remained anxious not to overpay, while some Celesio investors stressed the difficult European market is a blank spot on McKesson’s map.
** The Canadaian goverment’s veto to the sale of Allstream fiber optic network, owned by Manitoba Telecom Services , to Accelero Capital Holdings, controlled by Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris may effectively limit the pool of would-be buyers of BlackBerry Ltd or foreigners interested in Canada’s telecom industry,industry executives, lawyers and analysts say.
** Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland denied a newspaper report that said it was planning to sell a portfolio of more than 1,300 UK residential properties owned by its property arm, and was considering floating them on the stock exchange.
** Hedge fund Barington Capital Group LP is pushing for Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc to split into two separate companies, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter. New York-based Barington has taken a 2.8 percent stake in Darden, the Journal said.