(Adds Martin Marietta Materials, Philips, TreeHouse Foods, Natixis, Banca Popolare di Vicenza; updates Gazprom, Petrofac, Auxilium, AMS, London Stock Exchange)
June 26 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Thursday:
** Aluminum group Alcoa Inc expanded its aerospace business and took a step away from the light metal on Thursday, announcing a $2.85 billion deal to buy Firth Rixson, which makes jet engine parts largely out of nickel-based alloys and titanium.
** ThyssenKrupp Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger said there were no plans to sell the German industrial group’s elevators business.
** Gazprom is in talks to buy a 24.9 percent stake in Austrian oil and gas firm OMV, a source familiar with the talks told Reuters, a deal that would deepen already controversial Austro-Russian ties if it comes to fruition.
** The London Stock Exchange unveiled the largest purchase in its history, snapping up U.S. indexes group Frank Russell for $2.7 billion to move deeper into the world’s largest financial services market.
** Petrofac and private equity firm First Reserve formed a $1.25 billion investment joint venture in a deal including the sale of some assets of the British oil services company. The PetroFirst joint venture will involve investment firm First Reserve taking an 80 percent stake and Petrofac the remaining 20 percent, the FTSE 100 company said.
** Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc will buy Canadian eye drug maker QLT Inc for $346 million in the latest pharma deal aimed at cutting tax bills. Auxilium, which currently focuses on men’s health, orthopedics and dermatology, said the deal would help diversify into a new treatment area, as well as build up a portfolio of drugs aimed at rare indications.
** Oil entrepreneur Gary Klesch is in the final stages of exclusive talks with Murphy Oil to buy its Milford Haven refinery in Wales and a decision on a deal will be made this week, sources close to the negotiations said.
** Croatian retailer Agrokor is set to take control of Slovenia’s largest food retailer Mercator on Friday in a deal worth 323.8 million euros, ending a long-running saga which involved a 1 billion euro ($1.36 billion) debt restructuring.
** Martin Marietta Materials Inc must divest an Oklahoma quarry and two Texas rail yards to proceed with its proposed $2.7 billion acquisition of Texas Industries Inc , the U.S. Department of Justice said.
** Britain’s Carphone Warehouse and Dixons Retail are winning over investors to a merger that will create a powerhouse in consumer electricals retailing, they said on Thursday, as they both posted big increases in annual earnings. Last month, the two firms agreed an all-share merger to create Dixons Carphone.
** Italy’s Banca Popolare di Vicenza said on Thursday it had made a binding offer for a merger with rival Banca Popolare di Marostica in the latest sign of long-overdue consolidation among smaller Italian lenders.
** Romanian utility Electrica could raise around 435 million euros from the sale of a 51 percent stake in a stock market flotation, the energy ministry said, proceeds that are at the low end of a previously indicated range.
** Japan’s biggest online retailer Rakuten Inc plans to buy a major stake in a Japanese budget airline to be established by Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd, in a renewed bid to tap one of Asia’s most lucrative air markets, Japanese media reported.
** Sony Corp’s movie and TV unit will snap up Britain’s CSC media network, adding to a string of acquisitions by the Japanese company to shift its focus from movies to higher-margin television programming.
** French drugmaker Sanofi is leading an investor group buying a 66 percent stake in the Globalpharma unit of Dubai Investments, the Gulf-based diversified investment group said.
** Private-label food retailer TreeHouse Foods Inc is in late-stage talks to acquire Flagstone Foods, a maker of dried fruits and nuts, for between $800 million and $900 million, people familiar with the matter said.
** Online gambling company Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment said it had no plans to break up or sell the company, refuting a report that said the company was considering a sale.
** Swedish investment firm Kinnevik is not actively trying to sell telecom operator Tele2, its chief executive was reported as saying.
** South Korea’s LG Household & Health Care Ltd said it is no longer interested in acquiring Elizabeth Arden Inc after the U.S. cosmetics firm announced this week it would embark on extensive restructuring due to mounting losses.
** The chief executive of Telekom Austria has seen no signals that America Movil wants to exit a deal to gain control of the Austrian group despite a surprise writedown on its Bulgarian business, he told a newspaper.
A surprise writedown of Telekom Austria’s Bulgarian business will not affect a recently agreed partnership between its major shareholders America Movil and the Austrian government, the Austrian OIAG state holding company said.
** French bank Natixis said it sold its entire 5.4 percent stake in investment bank and asset manager Lazard Ltd for $356 million as part of its 2014-17 strategic plan.
** Hedge fund Paulson & Co has amassed a large stake in Allergan Inc of more than 6 million shares and supports a deal between the Botox maker and Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc , people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
** Austria’s AMS is in talks to buy German peer Dialog Semiconductor to create a European chipmaker with a market value of about $4.7 billion that could better tap the growing market for web-connected devices.
** Dutch healthcare and lighting company Philips said it was teaming up with Salesforce.com Inc, one of the first cloud-computing companies in the United States, to offer online management of chronic diseases.
** Irish titanium miner Kenmare Resources rejected a takeover bid from Australian rival Iluka Resources Ltd on Thursday, saying the share-for-share offer did not place sufficient value on its largest mine. Iluka, which like Kenmare has suffered from weak prices in its core markets in recent months, offered 0.036 new Iluka shares for each Kenmare share.
** Belgian chemicals group Solvay SA expressed confidence on Thursday that it could complete a PVC joint venture with INEOS by the end of the year, with a number of parties interested in buying assets the pair are bound to sell.
** Vodafone is set to gain unconditional EU approval for its 7.2-billion-euro ($9.79 billion) bid for Spain’s largest cable operator Ono as regulators do not have competition concerns, three people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
** International Business Machines Corp’s proposed $2.3 billion sale of its low-end server business to China’s Lenovo Group is in limbo as the U.S. government investigates national security issues, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
** Oilfield services provider Nabors Industries Ltd will merge its well maintenance business with C&J Energy Services Inc and receive $2.86 billion in cash and stock.
** A backlash against a management-led buyout of Tuckamore Capital Management Inc grew on Wednesday, with another large investor JC Clark Ltd stating that it plans to vote the shares it controls against the proposed deal.
** Bankrupt Energy Future Holdings’ novel plan to sell itself through a loan provision has Texas’s largest power company in hot water with creditors, who accuse it of trying to skirt a public sale process and hiding its true value.
** Talisman Energy Inc said on Wednesday it planned to sell its stakes in two oilfields in the Timor Sea off the coast of Australia as Canada’s No.5 independent oil producer continues to restructure its global petroleum properties.
** Chipmaker Audience Inc is acquiring a Silicon Valley startup in hopes of helping build smartphones that can figure out what you need at any time of the day, or even how you’re sleeping at night.
** Brunello Cucinelli, founder of the Italian luxury clothier of the same name, has transferred his entire stake in the firm to a trust - a relative uncommon structure in Italy - to benefit his daughters and ensure the continuation of his philantrophic work. ($1 = 0.73 euros) ($1 = 0.59 British pounds) ($1 = 0.89 Swiss francs) ($1 = 1.08 Canadian dollars) ($1 = 6.73 Swedish crowns) ($1 = 1.06 Australian dollars) ($1 = 102.05 Japanese yen) ($1 = 3.22 Romanian lei) (Compiled by Shailaja Sharma and Ramkumar Iyer in Bangalore)