(Adds ScotiaMocatta, Abbott Labs; updates Aurora Cannabis)
Jan 24 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2030 GMT on Wednesday:
** Facebook Inc is buying a software firm that specializes in authenticating government-issued identification cards, the two companies said, a step that may help the social media company learn more about the people who buy ads on its network.
** Microsemi Corp, the largest U.S. commercial supplier of military and aerospace semiconductor equipment, is exploring its options, including a possible sale, after it received a takeover approach, a person familiar with the matter said.
** The field of prospective bidders for ScotiaMocatta, the metals trading arm of Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia, has narrowed to two, three banking and industry sources said. The two - Goldman Sachs Group and Citi - are undertaking due diligence checks, the sources said.
** Abbott Laboratories said it was not looking at acquisitions this year as the healthcare company looks to ease its debt burden after a spree of deals last year.
** Weinstein Co has entered into exclusive negotiations to sell the studio with a group of investors led by former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet, a source familiar with the matter said.
** POSCO, South Korea’s top steelmaker, said it will set up two joint ventures to produce lithium-ion battery materials with China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, one of China’s top cobalt producers.
** A.P. Moller-Maersk has been in talks with Norway’s Aker ASA, Odfjell Drilling and Borr Drilling, seeking a partnership for its drilling unit Maersk Drilling, Danish business daily Borsen reported citing unnamed sources.
** Six local Italian utilities have approved a long-awaited merger plan to create a group with more than 400 million euros ($493 million) in revenue rooted in the northern Lombardy region.
** French oil and gas company Total has agreed to buy Samson Offshore Anchor LLC, in a deal which Total said would strengthen its presence in the Gulf of Mexico region.
** Russian second-largest lender VTB will consider acquiring mid-sized Vozrozhdenie bank, VTB head Andrei Kostin said, according to Russian news agencies.
** China’s state-owned enterprises will face more mergers and bankruptcies as the government overhauls the lumbering state sector, the head of the country’s state asset regulator told Reuters.
** Malaysia’s edotco Group is eyeing an entry into markets such as Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, and will tap funds to set itself up for more deals in the region, the telecommunications tower services unit of Axiata, the country’s largest mobile operator, said.
** Russia’s En+ Group, which manages businessman Oleg Deripaska’s aluminium and hydropower businesses, plans to close a deal with Glencore to convert its stake in aluminium producer Rusal into En+ by the end of the first quarter, En+ Chief Executive Maxim Sokov told Reuters.
** Canada’s No. 2 marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis Inc has agreed to buy smaller rival CanniMed Therapeutics Inc for C$1.1 billion ($852 million) as companies jostle to benefit from the country’s legalization of recreational marijuana use later this year. (Compiled by Anirban Paul in Bengaluru)