March 26, 2018 / 1:06 PM / in 9 months

Deals of the day-Mergers and acquisitions

(Updates USG Corp, Qatar Airways; Adds Purplebricks, SoftBank, Third Point LLC, Abraaj, PSA Group, Travelport, Devon Energy, Smurfit Kappa)

March 26 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Monday:

** Purplebricks Group Plc said German publisher Axel Springer has invested about 125 million pounds ($177.65 million) for a 11.5 percent stake in the British online real estate agent, which is looking to expand in the United States.

** Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp is looking to invest $1 billion in Chinese delivery firm Manbang Group, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

** Billionaire hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb’s firm Third Point LLC wants to build a stake in United Technologies Corp , according to a filing with the Federal Trade Commission, as the U.S. aero parts maker explores a breakup of its businesses.

** Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said it was too early to consider exiting the global oil output deal and that any withdrawal from the agreement should be done gradually.

** Private equity firm Abraaj Group is considering selling part of its investment management business as it seeks to stem the fallout from a dispute with investors in one of its funds, three sources familiar with the matter said.

** PSA Group no longer needs its 25 percent stake in its former logistics division Gefco, the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars said after French newspaper Les Echos reported that the holding had been put up for sale.

** Croatia’s watchdog for electronic media said it had approved the sale of Nova TV to Slovenia Broadband, a unit of United Group, after it sold a local company.

** Activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp asked Travelport Worldwide Ltd to pursue a sale and said it could be a potential buyer as it disclosed a nearly 12 percent stake in the travel software company.

** U.S. oil producer Devon Energy Corp said it was looking to sell even more assets than previously announced in order to focus its portfolio on three shale regions.

** Ireland’s Smurfit Kappa rejected a raised takeover offer from International Paper, frustrating a bid to combine the largest listed U.S. paper packaging firm with Europe’s biggest.

** Ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc has agreed to sell its Southeast Asian business to bigger regional rival Grab, the firms said, marking the U.S. company’s second retreat from an Asian market.

** British car dealership chain Inchcape Plc said it would buy family-run Grupo Rudelman, an automotive distribution business in Central America, as it looked to strengthen its presence in the emerging markets.

** Britain’s JD Sports Fashion is entering the lucrative U.S. market after agreeing to buy Finish Line Inc for $558 million in cash, the sportswear retailer said.

** Japan’s Toshiba Corp said it had yet to receive clearance from all regulators for the sale of its prized $18 billion memory-chip business by its self-imposed end-March deadline, but added it aimed to sell it as early as possible.

** Japan’s Marubeni Corp said it has sold part of its interests in the Eagle Ford shale oil and gas assets in Texas to two U.S. independent oil and gas developers for an undisclosed sum.

** U.S. building products maker USG Corp, backed by Warren Buffett, rejected an unsolicited buyout offer from its second-biggest shareholder, Germany’s Gebr Knauf KG, saying the offer substantially undervalued the company.

** Germany’s ATON GmbH plans to make a buyout offer for South African engineering and construction company Murray & Roberts (M&R), saying its move was a sign of its confidence in the South African economy.

** Swiss fragrance and flavour maker Givaudan plans to launch an offer for French natural ingredients group Naturex after agreeing to buy a half-billion euro minority stake in the firm.

** Italian hearing aid maker Amplifon is targeting acquisitions in Germany, France and Canada and plans to enter the Chinese market by the end of the year with one or two joint-ventures, its chief executive said.

** Qatar Airways announced plans on Monday to buy a 25 percent stake in Russia’s Vnukovo Airport, the third-largest in the Moscow area by passenger numbers.

** German metals distributor Kloeckner & Co said it continued to be interested in Materials Services, Thyssenkrupp’s largest division by sales, further raising expectations for a sale.

** French construction group Bouygues said it was buying the engineering services business of Swiss utility Alpiq for 850 million Swiss francs ($899.19 million) in cash to expand into European energy services.

** GKN Plc promised a quick cash handout for shareholders if they back a sweetened offer for its auto business, raising the stakes in its battle to fend off a hostile bid for the entire company.

** 3i Group Plc has sold ferry operator Scandlines to infrastructure funds First State Investments and Hermes Investment Management and bought back a 35 percent stake, the London-listed private equity group said.

** European medical laboratory services operator Cerba has taken over BIO7 from private investment firm Ardian in a deal that values the French analysis specialist at 450 million to 500 million euros ($618 million), Les Echos daily said on Sunday.

** Ireland’s Smurfit Kappa said it had rejected an increased takeover offer from U.S. rival International Paper , saying the offer undervalued Europe’s largest paper packaging producer and made no strategic sense.

** Thyssenkrupp will likely sell its materials trading division as part of a strategic overhaul to be announced in May, German business daily Handelsblatt reported, without identifying its sources.

** Mexican grocer Chedraui, a powerhouse in the fast-growing Latino market in the United States, said on Sunday it had bought smaller U.S. grocery store chain Fiesta Marts for an undisclosed amount. (Compiled by Nikhil Subba and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru)

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