(Adds BASF, Sun Life Financial Inc, Diageo Plc, and others )
Nov 5 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Thursday:
** Expedia Inc on Wednesday said it agreed to buy vacation rental site HomeAway Inc for about $3.9 billion in cash and stock, in a move that could ramp up competition with apartment-sharing startup Airbnb.
** Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s private equity arm and buyout firm Thomas H. Lee Partners LP are in talks to acquire facility management company GCA Services Group Inc from Blackstone Group Inc, according to people familiar with the matter. The offer values GCA at around $1 billion, including debt, the people said.
** Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc has purchased nearly 15 percent of Australian ports and rail operator Asciano Ltd as part of an agreed $6.5 billion takeover that has raised antitrust regulators’ eyebrows, The Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported.
** Three investment firms are vying to buy French call centre operator Webhelp in a deal which could value the business at around 1 billion euros ($1.09 billion), four sources familiar with the matter said. Webhelp’s owner Charterhouse is looking to offload the company and has asked KKR and Apax to submit binding offers in the next couple of weeks, the sources said.
** Australia’s competition regulator said an agreed A$2.7 billion ($1.9 billion) buyout of data management firm Recall Holdings Ltd by U.S. rival Iron Mountain Inc may hurt competition, drive up prices and lower customer service.
** German chemical company BASF is putting its steel coatings business up for sale, in a deal that could value the business at up to about 500 million euros ($540 million), several people familiar with process said.
** Canadian insurer Sun Life Financial Inc is scouting for acquisitions to boost its asset management businesses in the United States and Canada, following a string of deals this year, its top executive said.
** Diageo Plc, the world’s largest spirits company, said it had sold its wine interests in Argentina to Grupo Penaflor for an undisclosed amount.
** Cellcom agreed to buy rival Golan Telecom for 1.17 billion shekels ($300.9 million), as Israel’s largest mobile phone provider seeks to add a low-cost brand to its portfolio.
** German vacuum pump maker Busch-Holding GmbH said it now aimed to influence rival Pfeiffer Vacuum’s strategy and left the door open to raising its stake above 30 percent, which would force it to make an offer for the whole group. Busch has built a stake in Pfeiffer, which stood at 27.2 percent in late September, but had so far said it saw its holding as a purely financial investment.
** Privately held outdoors retailer Bass Pro Shops is exploring an offer for Cabela’s Inc, the U.S. hunting and fishing store chain targeted by activist investor Elliott Management, people familiar with the matter said.
** Germany’s HeidelbergCement raised its estimate for benefits from the planned takeover of Italcementi, drawing praise from analysts which see the group as a formidable foe to recently merged LafargeHolcim. HeidelbergCement said the acquisition was on track, increasing its synergy target to 300 million ($326 million) euros a year from 175 million previously.
** Russia’s state property management agency is ready to sell off stakes in several major firms as part of a privatisation plan if President Vladimir Putin backs the idea, the agency’s head, Olga Dergunova, told reporters.
** Scandinavia’s Arla, one of the world’s biggest dairy producers, said on Thursday it had put the last of its non-dairy businesses up for sale and had been in contact with potential buyers. The unit, Rynkeby Foods A/S, is the Nordic region’s largest juice producer with revenues of 150 million euros ($163 million) last year, Arla said.
** French utility EDF said it was reviewing the strategy for its high-voltage grid unit RTE, one of its key assets that analyst have long believed could be partially sold to finance nuclear investment.
$1 = 0.9199 euros $1 = 3.8885 shekels $1 = A$1.3994 Compiled by Manish Parashar and Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru