Top deals of the day - bids, mergers and acquisitions

By VCPOST Staff Reporter

Dec 11, 2013 05:39 PM EST

The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported on Wednesday, including Fortum, National Vision, Saipem, CTT, MTS, Southern Pacific, Warrnambool, Verbund, Bakkafrost, Popular and Marathon Oil.

Microsoft Corp fended off a challenge to its $8.5 billion takeover of messaging service Skype when Europe's second-highest court ruled against claims by rival Cisco Systems Inc that the 2011 deal would harm competition. 

Snapchat, the mobile photo-sharing service beloved by teenagers and twenty-somethings, has raised another $50 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made Wednesday.

Hilton Worldwide Inc, the world's largest hotel operator, raised roughly $2.34 billion in its IPO on Wednesday after pricing shares toward the high end of the range.

KKR & Co LP and Carlyle Group LP are competing for National Vision Inc, the fourth-largest U.S. retailer of eyeglasses and contact lenses, in an auction that could fetch up to $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said this week.

Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd and top mobile operator Bharti Airtel Ltd have agreed to share network infrastructure, as the old adversaries in India's crowded telecoms industry set aside differences to save costs. 

Santander, Spain's largest bank, has agreed to buy HSBC's 8 percent stake in Bank of Shanghai, expanding its presence in China at a time when other foreign banks have hit the exit button. 

The head of Intesa Sanpaolo said Italy's biggest retail bank was not planning to invest in troubled peer Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which is set to carry out a 3-billion-euro capital increase next year. 

Finnish utility Fortum is in exclusive talks to sell its power grid in Finland for more than 2 billion euros ($2.75 billion) to a consortium led by the First State and Borealis infrastructure funds, two people familiar with the matter said. 

South Korean financial regulators approved on Wednesday private equity firm MBK Partners' 1.84 trillion won ($1.75 billion) purchase of ING Groep's local insurance unit, the country's largest insurance acquisition. 

Private equity group CVC Capital Partners sold its remaining 19.7 percent stake in Belgian postal group bpost for a total of 580 million euros ($799 million). 

China's Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd said its restructuring manager would investigate the planned sale of its main unit to Shunfeng Photovoltaic International Ltd for legal infractions - a move sources say could delay the $495 million deal. 

Italian oil service group Saipem said it had agreed to sell a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel to oil major Eni for 336 million euros ($463 million). 

Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank bought big stakes in Portugal's CTT, the newly privatised postal services company said, as its shareholder structure began to be disclosed. 

Barnes & Noble Inc Chairman Leonard Riggio has sold 2 million of his shares in the bookstore chain he founded, lowering his stake in the company to 26.3 percent, according to a regulatory filing. 

South Africa-focused bullion producer Sibanye Gold has made a cash offer for junior rival Wits Gold, which like other smaller operations has struggled in the face of low prices, high costs and labor unrest. 

Danish brewer Carlsberg confirmed on Wednesday that it had upped its stake in China's Chongqing Brewery to 60 percent, as the Chinese company had said on Dec. 5. 

The Netherlands' Heineken NV has become the largest shareholder of India's United Breweries Ltd after its stake inched past that of liquor baron Vijay Mallya. 

Japan's Arabian Oil Co has sold its last upstream stake to an unspecified overseas oil development firm for an undisclosed sum, the parent firm, Japanese oil refiner Fuji Oil Co, said. 

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways is looking at the data room of Alitalia and is expected to take a decision on whether to invest in the troubled Italian carrier by Christmas, two sources familiar with the matter said. 

Bank Hapoalim, Israel's largest bank, said it decided not to continue with an examination of a possible acquisition of Israel Discount Bank's New York unit. 

Fininvest, the holding company of Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, said it had sold 5.61 percent of asset management company Mediolanum at 6.12 euros per share. 

U.S. activist shareholder Sandell Asset Management went public on Wednesday with a demand for British transport operator FirstGroup to split its U.S. business to invest in its domestic arm. 

Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall could sell troubled European assets after general elections are held in Sweden in September next year, Sweden's Financial Markets Minister Peter Norman told business daily Dagens Industri. 

Private equity firm Actis said it sold its 82 percent stake in India's Sterling Hospital to Addlife Investments Pvt Ltd, a company promoted by the hospital's current chairman, Girish Patel. 

Kenya's Www.Bid Investment Co said it would offer to buy sisal producer Rea Vipingo for 3.3 billion shillings ($38 million), topping two rival bids including one from Rea Vipingo's main shareholder, Rea Trading. 

Belarus has cut the price of its 51 percent stake in a mobile joint venture with Russian group MTS as it scheduled a new attempt to sell the asset for Feb. 6. Belarus set a starting price of $863 million for the controlling stake in its biggest mobile operator, the country's state property committee said, compared with $1 billion it sought previously. 

Southern Pacific Resource Corp said it has launched a strategic review of its business that could include an outright sale as it looks to boost its flagging share price and find the cash to expand its oil sands project. 

Australia's Takeovers Panel will order Canadian dairy Saputo Inc to raise its bid for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter as early as this week, a report by Business Spectator said. 

Norwegian salmon farmer Salmar plans to sell its entire 14.9 percent stake in Bakkafrost, the largest salmon producer in the Faroe Islands, it said. Salmar said it would sell its 7.26 million shares, worth $109 million at the stock's closing price on Wednesday, completely exiting the company after already selling 7.27 million shares in a similar auction in May. 

Spanish lender Popular said it would raise up to 450 million euros by selling shares in the bank to new Mexican investors, allowing it to boost its solvency ratio and secure a stake in a small Mexican bank. 

Marathon Oil Corp will increase the number of rigs running in its oil-producing fields in Texas and North Dakota next year and try to sell assets in Norway and the United Kingdom, Chief Executive Lee Tillman said in an interview. 

Some creditors of Freedom Group Inc, maker of the Bushmaster rifle used in the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre, are willing to offer the company more debt, despite the fact many of its private equity fund investors want out. 

Advantage Rent A Car said it picked Canadian private equity Catalyst Capital Group Inc to buy its assets in bankruptcy proceedings and reached a deal with Hertz Global Holdings Inc that allows Advantage to continue using a leased vehicle fleet. 

Spain's Ferrovial has told the board of Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) that it wants to buy its remaining British assets, the Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, Sky News reported.  

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