(Adds Total, Intel, Facebook, Airbus, DirectTV, Finmeccanica, Goldman Sachs, ValueAct Capital, Ilva, Dow Chemical and others)
Sept 25 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Thursday:
** French oil company Total SA has launched a process to sell its 17 percent stake in the Gulf of Mexico’s Tahiti oil field, which could fetch between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in a deal, according to people familiar with the matter.
** Intel Corp is close to announcing an investment in Chinese-government affiliated mobile chipmakers Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronics, its latest move to catch up in a smartphone chip industry led by Qualcomm Inc , according to two sources with knowledge of the plan.
** Facebook, the world’s leading social network, will win unconditional EU approval for its $19 billion offer for mobile messaging startup WhatsApp in a deal pitting it against telecoms operators, two people familiar with the matter said.
** Airbus Group has begun sounding out potential partners for parts of its defence and security business whose future was left undecided in a recent portfolio review, Chief Executive Tom Enders said.
** DirecTV’s shareholders overwhelmingly approved the company’s acquisition by AT&T Inc, DirecTV said.
** Italy’s defence group Finmeccanica said on Thursday its board had decided to proceed with a request for binding offers for its loss-making train unit Ansaldo Breda after examining the bids so far received.
** Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s private equity arm and buyout firm Rhone Capital LLC are nearing a deal to acquire logistics services provider Neovia Logistics LLC for more than $1 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
** Hedge fund ValueAct Capital said it would return to the board of directors of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc , which is pursuing a hostile takeover offer for Allergan Inc, and that it planned to increase its stake in the company.
** At least five offers are expected for Ilva, the southern Italian steelmaker seized by magistrates last year after it was accused of failing to contain toxic emissions, Industry Minister Federica Guidi said. Labour unions had already confirmed that ArcelorMittal, the world largest steelmaker, and India’s JSW Steel were interested in Ilva.
** Dow Chemical Co has kicked off a process to sell its epoxy and chlorine businesses, hoping to find a single buyer for them in what is set to be a multibillion-dollar deal, according to people familiar with the matter.
** Swiss engineering group ABB Ltd could consider acquisitions next year once recent deals have been fully integrated, its chief executive told German newspaper Handelsblatt in an interview to be published on Friday.
** France’s competition regulator rejected a request by Orange to suspend a mobile network sharing agreement between rivals Bouygues Telecom and SFR, saying it did not pose an immediate or serious threat to consumers or the sector.
** The Des Moines and Seattle Federal Home Loan Banks agreed to merge, in a move the companies said would make the lenders stronger as a combined entity.
** Louisiana’s electricity supplier Cleco Corp’s effort to find a suitor is faltering as the most likely buyer Macquarie Group Ltd struggles to find investor backing for the deal, Bloomberg reported.
** India’s JSW Energy Ltd has agreed to buy three hydropower plants from Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd, two local television channels reported on Thursday. Financial terms of the deal were not mentioned.
** At least six state investment firms are interested in buying the property assets of restaurant and packaged food company Bob Evans Farms Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
** European private equity firm CVC is resuming the sale of Swiss mobile telecoms company Sunrise and could hire a bank to advise on a deal worth up to 4.9 billion Swiss francs ($5.2 billion), several sources familiar with the matter said.
** Vista Equity Partners and Thoma Bravo LLC are among a small group of private equity firms competing to buy TIBCO Software Inc, a business software company with a market value of more than $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
** British property firm Hammerson is selling up to 71.3 million new shares to fund the purchase of its joint venture partner’s stake in a shopping center in Leicester, central England, and a planned expansion in outlet fashion centers.
** Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC said it had bought a stake in RAC Ltd, Britain’s second largest roadside recovery firm, from private equity fund Carlyle Group LP for an undisclosed amount.
** British chipmaker CSR said the UK takeover panel had granted its U.S. suitor Microchip Technology Inc an extension of a deadline governing how long it has before it must make a firm offer for the company.
** Argentina’s competition watchdog has not yet decided whether to approve Telecom Italia SpA’s $960 million sale of its Argentine unit to investment fund Fintech, a source at the regulatory body said on Wednesday.
** Spanish insurance company Mapfre is to buy the Italian and German businesses of Direct Line, Britain’s largest motor insurer, for 550 million euros ($700 million), in a deal that will immediately boost earnings, Mapfre said.
** Panasonic Corp is in talks about taking a stake in Spanish auto parts maker Ficosa International SA, sources said, part of its big push into the automotive field as it seeks more stable profits. The Nikkei newspaper said Panasonic was expected to invest 20 billion yen to 30 billion yen ($183 million-$275 million) in Ficosa for a near 50 percent holding.
** Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co Ltd said it had sold its 25 percent stake in Silver Bell Mining to a unit of Grupo Mexico that already owns the remaining 75 percent in the operator of Silver Bell copper mine in Arizona.
** Rosneft, Russia’s biggest crude oil producer, may back out of a deal to buy Morgan Stanley ‘s oil trading unit because Western sanctions make it virtually impossible to finance day-to-day operations, three sources close to the state-controlled company said.
** Alior Bank, Poland’s No. 14 lender in terms of assets, said it planned to buy smaller local rival Meritum Bank in a move that marks another step in the consolidation of the Polish banking sector. Under the terms of the deal, Meritum’s owners will receive up to almost 2.36 million new Alior shares worth roughly 200 million zlotys ($61 million).
** U.S. private investment company Cain Hoy Enterprises is no longer considering making a takeover offer for English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, it said.
** Croatia plans to relaunch next year the sale of its last major state-owned bank, Hrvatska Postanska Banka (HPB), the head of the state asset management bureau said.
** German engineering group Duerr AG could eventually buy the rest of Broetje from Deutsche Beteiligungs AG (DBAG) as it seeks to reduce its dependence on automotive customers, its chief executive said.
** Nationalized Austrian lender Hypo Alpe Adria Bank International will sell its Balkans network by the end of next month, Chairman Herbert Walter told the Wirtschaftsblatt newspaper in an interview published on Thursday.
** Swedish oil firm Lundin Petroleum has acquired a 50 percent stake and the operatorship of an oilfield off Malaysia from state-owned Petronas, the firm said.
** Russia’s FC Otkritie Bank is expected to buy a 19.85 percent stake in Cyprus-registered RBC Bank, following RBC’s additional share issue, Otkritie said.
** Belgian cable and telecoms group Telenet has ruled out further payouts to shareholders this year, sparking speculation it may be preparing to acquire one of its Belgian rivals.
** Bosnia’s top power utility EPBiH has shortlisted seven firms out of 12 bidders to help build a 20 megawatt (MW) hydropower plant on the Bosna river, it said. (1 US dollar = 0.7860 euro) (1 US dollar = 3.2732 Polish zloty) (1 US dollar = 109.2100 Japanese yen) (1 US dollar = 0.9484 Swiss franc) (1 US dollar = 3.7509 Saudi riyal) (Compiled by Anet Josline Pinto and Anya George Tharakan in Bangalore)