(Adds Abbvie, Allergan, TRW Auto, Telefonica, Bingham McCutchen, Fred‘s, GTECH, Slovak Telekom, Cliffs Natural, Rosneft, Woolworths, Koncar, Dong Energy ; updates Fiat Chrysler)
July 17 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Thursday:
** Shire Plc and U.S. drugmaker Abbvie Inc plan to announce a $53 billion merger as soon as Friday morning, two people said.
** Allergan Inc, trying to fend off a hostile takeover bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc , has thrown up obstacles to a special shareholders meeting, its biggest investor said.
** German car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen AG can raise its bid for U.S.-based TRW Automotive Holdings Corp to as much as $13 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
** Telefonica’s move to reduce its stake in Italian rival Telecom Italia may help the Spanish phone group appease regulators over competition concerns in Brazil and possibly accelerate consolidation in that market.
** In the latest sign of financial pressures in the legal industry, the 123-year-old Boston law firm Bingham McCutchen is seeking a merger with another top U.S. firm and has reached out to at least four in the past three months, sources told Reuters.
** Private equity firm Sycamore Partners is in talks with regional discount store operator Fred’s Inc about a potential takeover, according to people familiar with the matter.
** Italian-regulated gaming company GTECH is backing its $4.7 billion cash and stock acquisition of U.S.-based International Game Technology with a $10.7 billion bridge loan.
** The Slovak government has mandated JP Morgan and Citigroup to advise on the sale of its 49 percent stake in Slovak Telekom, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, a spokeswoman said.
** Casablanca Capital LP said two independent proxy advisory firms have recommended shareholders of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc vote in favor of the hedge fund’s bid to replace a majority of the miner’s board members.
** Morgan Stanley does not believe new U.S. sanctions on Russian oil company Rosneft will affect a pending deal between the two companies, the bank’s chief financial officer said.
** South Africa’s Woolworths cleared the final hurdle to its $2 billion takeover of David Jones after an Australian court gave the upscale clothing and food retailer the green light on Thursday.
** The Croatian government said it would sell a minority stake in electrical firm Koncar to raise funds for overhauling the newest European Union member’s sole fertilizer plant Petrokemija.
** Fiat Chrysler has denied a magazine report saying it’s in merger talks with Volkswagen, while the German carmaker said it had no takeovers on its agenda.
** Denmark’s Dong Energy has agreed to divest 50 percent of a German offshore wind farm project to a group of Danish pension funds, a sale that would free up capital to expand its offshore wind business.
** U.S. investment fund Blackstone Group LP paid 3.615 billion euros ($5 billion) for a portfolio of home loans belonging to Spain’s bailed-out Catalunya Banc, the lender said on Thursday.
** Japan’s biggest trading house Mitsubishi Corp has submitted a non-binding bid to buy Murphy Oil Corp’s Malaysian oil and gas assets valued at about $2.5 billion, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.
** Hyundai Motor Group on Thursday expressed interest in buying the site of Korea Electric Power’s Seoul headquarters, which real estate analysts said could fetch at least 3 trillion won ($2.91 billion).
** Britain’s Vodafone and its Greek business partner Wind have offered to buy the shares they don’t already own in Forthnet, a small Greek internet, telephony and pay television provider, Forthnet said on Thursday.
** General Electric Co is in talks to sell its century-old household appliances business for as much as $2.5 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
** Australia’s New South Wales state government is evaluating bids for two power stations it hopes will sell for at least A$1 billion ($937.3 million), a spokeswoman said on Thursday.
** John Malone’s cable group Liberty Global Plc has bought a 6.4 percent stake in ITV from BSkyB .
The sale, at a price of 481 million pounds ($824 million), may also indicate that BSkyB is looking to raise cash to push ahead with its own expansion plans after it opened talks this year to buy Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland.
Goldman Sachs placed 190 million shares in ITV at 190 pence ($320) each on Thursday, in a transaction linked to Liberty Global’s acquisition of a stake in the British broadcaster, traders said.
** German engineering group Siemens has been preparing an offer to acquire U.S.-based compressor and turbine maker Dresser-Rand, German magazine Manager Magazin reported on Thursday, citing sources close to Siemens.
** Hong Kong-based private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners is among several parties that have submitted binding bids for a controlling stake in South Korea’s Parnas Hotel Co Ltd, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The deal is seen worth around 600-800 billion won, two of the people said.
** Shareholders of Hyundai Logistics Co, a unit of South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Group, signed a contract to sell a 600 billion won stake in the unit to Japanese financial firm Orix Corp, the group said on Thursday.
** Switzerland’s Novartis and German investment company BWK are selling their stakes in medical skin patch maker LTS Lohmann to fellow shareholder Dievini Hopp BioTech, having failed to find a third-party buyer for the business.
** Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA is in talks to sell the 40 percent stake it owns of a Brazilian natural gas distributor to electricity holding company Cia Energética de Minas Gerais SA.
** South Korean steelmaker Posco said on Thursday it will pursue the sale of three units including a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in order to improve its financial structure.
** Love Culture Inc on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, becoming the latest women’s apparel retailer to seek protection from creditors, and said it may be sold after having received interest from possible buyers.
** Cyprus-based Golboot Holdings, a firm controlled by Goldman Sachs Group Inc, sold 11.8 million shares, or a 1.91 percent stake, in Indian auto maker Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd via a block deal on the BSE exchange.
** The Carlyle Group LP raised about $78 million by selling its entire stake in India’s Repco Home Finance Ltd , exchange data showed, making a near nine-fold return on its six-year old investment.
($1 = 0.74 Euros) ($1 = 0.58 British Pounds) ($1 = 1028.95 Korean Won) ($1 = 1.07 Australian Dollars)
Compiled by Ankit Ajmera and Amrutha Gayathri in Bangalore