March 13 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Wednesday:
** Johnson Controls Inc is exploring a potential sale of its automotive electronics business, but has no “current intention” to sell its automotive interiors unit, the company said on Wednesday.
** Telecom Italia is continuing talks over a possible spin-off of its copper-wire network, its chief operating officer said on Wednesday, a project that could help the group pay down heavy debts and free up funds for investment.
** Heavily-indebted Italian publisher RCS MediaGroup on Wednesday took a step towards the possible sale of its majority stake in Internet company Dada, by asking it to allow potential bidders access to its data room for a due diligence.
** Online travel agency Priceline.com’s $1.8 billion deal to acquire smaller rival Kayak Software Corp , which was expected to close this month, will be delayed due to a prolonged review by UK antitrust regulators.
** PayPal said on Wednesday that it acquired mobile app developer Duff Research, part of an effort by the online payment giant to become more nimble and technology focused.
PayPal, owned by e-commerce company eBay Inc, did not disclose a purchase price.
** Deutsche Bahn has agreed to buy Veolia Transdev’s eastern European bus services for 152 million euros, documents from the German state-owned rail operator seen by Reuters showed on Wednesday.
** Global mining group Rio Tinto is in exclusive talks with Germany’s Trimet Aluminium AG over the possible sale of two French aluminium plants, France’s industry minister said on Wednesday.
** Brazil’s Vale SA plans to sell the Rio Colorado fertilizer project in Argentina to recoup the $2.2 billion it has invested in the suspended potash mine, railroad and port complex, a source with direct knowledge of Vale’s plans told Reuters on Wednesday.
** Germany’s Bilfinger will look closely at a rival facility and energy management business that Hochtief plans to sell as it seeks to tap a growing market in making buildings more energy efficient, Bilfinger’s chief executive said.
** The Indian government is likely to scale back the size of the its planned auction of shares in National Aluminium Co Ltd (NALCO), two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
** Royal Bank of Scotland has sold off a further stake in UK insurer Direct Line for 507 million pounds ($755 million), taking advantage of a buoyant market to cut its holding well ahead of an end-of-year regulatory deadline.
** Cable network Outdoor Channel Holdings Inc agreed to be acquired by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment LLC for about $8.75 per share in cash, nearly four months after it accepted an $8.00 offer from Leo Hindery’s InterMedia Outdoors Holdings LLC.
** Asda, the British arm of U.S. retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc, is considering a bid for collapsed music retailer HMV Group Plc, the Telegraph reported.
** Germany’s top energy group E.ON SE said it wanted to close the sale of its stake in uranium enrichment firm Urenco this year or next as part of its ongoing drive to shed non-core assets and cut its massive debt pile.
** Charles and David Koch, two of the world’s richest men, are interested in Tribune’s newspaper assets, which include the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, according to sources familiar with situation.
** National Financial Partners Corp, the New York-based wealth management company headed by Sandy Weill’s daughter Jessica Bibliowicz, is exploring a potential sale, according to three people familiar with the matter.
** The German government will cut its stake in bailed-out lender Commerzbank AG to less than 20 percent from 25 percent as part of a raft of measures to strengthen its capital and comply with new bank rules.
** Tesco Plc said it had acquired family restaurant group Giraffe for 48.6 million pounds ($72.3 million), extending the reach of Britain’s largest retailer into cafes and dining.
** U.S. private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC is in talks to sell its 11 percent stake in India’s largest direct-to-home service operator Dish TV India Ltd , two sources with direct knowledge of the development told Reuters on Wednesday.
** The French Competition Authority said it would start an in-depth review of retailer Casino’s planned acquisition of the 50 percent of Monoprix it does not already own, as the deal could reduce competition in the sector. Casino agreed last year to pay 1.18 billion euros ($1.5 billion) for 50 percent of Monoprix, one of France’s best-known store chains.
** Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASM International NV said on Wednesday it would sell a stake in its Hong Kong-listed unit - worth between $400 million and $600 million at current market prices.
** Alamos Gold Inc said it was likely to walk away from a bid to buy Aurizon Mines Ltd if it loses a regulatory ruling on the merits of a poison pill adopted by Aurizon and the break fee committed to rival bidder Hecla Mining Co.
** U.S. private equity firm Centerbridge Partners is interested in the 315 UK branches being sold by state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
** The Czech cabinet approved the sale of a 44 percent stake in loss-making Czech Airlines to Korean Air, two sources with knowledge of the deal said. Korean Air was the only bidder for the state carrier and will buy the stake for 2.64 million euros ($3.4 million).
** Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s top mobile phone operator, said on Wednesday it had acquired an additional 13.36 percent stake in Nigerian unit, Airtel Networks Ltd, from existing shareholders to raise its total holding to 79.06 percent.
** A panel of Indian ministers has approved selling a 12.15 percent stake in state-owned National Aluminium Co Ltd (NALCO) through a share auction on March 15, a finance ministry official said on Wednesday.
** Al Baraka Turk, a unit of Bahraini lender Al Baraka, said it had started work on establishing a joint private pension company with Kuveyt Turk.
** Samsung Techwin Co Ltd said on Wednesday it will not bid for Italy’s AnsaldoEnergia after earlier considering an acquisition of the Finmeccanica SpA unit.