(Adds Novatek, Airbnb, Altice, Eni)
March 7 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2100 GMT on Thursday:
** Home-renting company Airbnb has bought HotelTonight, an app for finding hotel rooms at a discount, as it wades deeper into the hotel-booking business to attract a wider variety of travelers ahead of a hotly anticipated initial public offering.
** Cable operator Altice USA Inc is exploring options for its Lightpath fiber unit, including a divestment of the seller of Internet services to large corporations that could fetch $3 billion, according to sources familiar with the matter.
** Italy’s Eni and Edison have emerged as the strongest suitors to buy utility Ascopiave’s retail customers as they prepare rival bids for a business worth up to 600 million euros ($678 million), sources told Reuters.
** German drugs and lab supplies group Merck KGaA is encouraged by the market reaction to its unsolicited bid for Versum Materials Inc, as it seeks to break up the U.S. company’s agreed merger with a rival suitor, Merck said.
** Russia’s Credit Bank of Moscow has decided to bid for Asian-Pacific Bank at a tender on March 14, the lender said.
** Activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP has amassed a 4 percent stake in Zayo Group Holdings Inc and is asking the U.S. communications infrastructure provider to consider a sale, according to a letter sent by Starboard to Zayo.
** VTB Capital, Russian lender Bank VTB PAO’s investment arm, has purchased a 20 percent stake in Channel One from businessman Roman Abramovich’s ORT-KB company, VTB said.
** The U.S. Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday approved the acquisition of MB Financial Inc by Fifth Third Bancorp .
** General Electric Co is exploring a sale of its 50 percent stake in a renewable energy joint venture with Italy’s Enel SpA, the latest deal GE CEO Lawrence Culp is pursuing to pay down debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
** German fintech Raisin, which is backed by Paypal , is buying Frankfurt-based MHB Bank as it seeks to expand business of offering deposit services to retail customers, Raisin’s chief executive told Reuters.
** Italy’s biggest retail bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, is in talks to sell about 10 billion euros ($11 billion) in unlikely-to-pay property loans to a unit of U.S. fund Davidson Kempner, a source familiar with the matter said.
** Electricity and gas utility company National Grid Plc said it agreed to buy U.S-based utility-scale wind and solar energy developer Geronimo Energy for at least $100 million.
** Chip designer Dialog Semiconductor said it would acquire Silicon Motion’s mobile communications business for $45 million in cash, expanding its presence in the market for low-power connected devices.
** Buyout firm Apollo Global Management LLC has agreed to acquire Direct ChassisLink Inc, the largest chassis rental and leasing company in the United States, for about $2.5 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
** Spanish blood products company Grifols said it has signed a strategic alliance with Shanghai RAAS as it looks to increase its sales of plasma-derived products in China. (Compiled by Debroop Roy and Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru)