(Adds Linde, AT&T, NEX Group, ArcelorMittal, SJW Group, Bayer AG, Singapore Airlines, GKN, Saudi Binladin Group, Sky, Banca Romaneasca, Interros Holding, Siam Cement Group Pcl; updates Toys ‘R’ Us, ACS)
March 15 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2100 GMT on Thursday:
** German gases group Linde said the European Commission has suspended its review of the group’s merger with Praxair while it awaits requested information, but it expects the suspension to be lifted next week.
** U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said trial to decide if AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc is legal under U.S. antitrust law may last six to eight weeks, significantly longer than previously forecast.
** Britain’s NEX Group Plc said it had received a preliminary takeover approach from U.S.-based exchange operator CME Group, in a move to create a cross-border trading powerhouse.
** Toy retailer Toys ‘R’ Us Inc asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for approval to stop paying all of its suppliers while it tries to line up buyers for its international business ahead of a planned liquidation of its U.S. operations.
** ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, has offered to sell plants across Europe in an effort to address EU antitrust concerns over its 1.8 billion euro ($2.2 billion) bid for Italian peer Ilva.
** SJW Group and Connecticut Water Service, Inc. plan to merge, they said on Thursday, which would create the third-largest investor-owned water and wastewater utility in the United States.
** Bayer AG’s plan to win antitrust approval to buy U.S. seeds supplier Monsanto Co has not satisfied U.S. officials, who are worried the $62.5 billion merger could hurt competition, Bloomberg reported.
** An agreement between Spain’s ACS and Italy’s Atlantia to make a joint 18-billion-euro ($22.2 billion) bid for Abertis will not lead to a break-up of the Spanish toll-road operator’s assets, ACS’s chairman said.
** Singapore Airlines has an open mind about making an initial bid for a stake in state-run Air India , the head of the Singaporean carrier’s India business told Reuters.
** GKN gained an ally in its campaign to fend off a hostile takeover bid from Melrose when customer Airbus said it could not guarantee new work to an owner with a short-term perspective.
** The Saudi government is expected to take a 35 percent stake in construction giant Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) as part of a financial settlement with state authorities, sources told Reuters.
** Sky, the European pay-TV group at the centre of a takeover battle, said it had entered into a confidentiality agreement with suitor Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox and Walt Disney.
** Romania’s central bank said it had rejected Hungary’s OTP Bank’s acquisition of Banca Romaneasca, despite the competition watchdog clearing the purchase late last year.
** Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin’s Interros Holding said it had completed the purchase from businessman Roman Abramovich of a 2 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel, which has been the subject of a legal battle.
** Thailand’s king now has a stake worth nearly $150 million in the country’s biggest industrial conglomerate, Siam Cement Group Pcl, according to stock exchange data, while his close aide is in line for a board seat.
** SK Telecom, South Korea’s No. 1 telecom company by market share, said it is considering the acquisition of Carlyle-owned domestic security systems company ADT Caps.
** Italian market watchdog Consob approved a bid by Cartier owner Richemont for the full control of online luxury retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter, the Swiss group said.
** Japan’s Toray Industries, the world’s largest maker of carbon-fibre composite materials, said it will buy TenCate Advanced Composites for an enterprise value of 930 million euros ($1.15 billion), as it looks to ramp up its carbon-fibre business.
** Australian rail operator Aurizon Holdings said said it was committed to completing the proposed sale of its freight business by July, after the country’s competition watchdog raised concerns about the plan.
** Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp said it will buy Sweden’s Ovako which makes speciality steel used in industries including wind power generation and robotics, a move that gives Japan’s biggest steelmaker a manufacturing base in Europe.
** Glencore Plc, the world’s biggest producer of cobalt, has agreed to sell around a third of its cobalt production over the next three years to Chinese battery recycler GEM Co Ltd, according to a filing by GEM on Wednesday.
** Starboard Value LP, which is looking to replace the entire board of Newell Brands Inc, said on Wednesday three of its nominees would buy about $25 million in Newell stock with their own money if the activist hedge fund gained full board control.
** Virgin Atlantic expects a deal for Air France-KLM to buy a stake in the British airline from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group to complete in early 2019, its chief executive said. (Compiled by Diptendu Lahiri and Akshara P in Bengaluru)
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