(Adds Atlantia, Guala Closures, Chiltern International, Dominion Diamond and Lightower Fiber Networks; Updates Chevron)
April 13 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Thursday:
** Linde and Praxair’s $65 billion merger talks are facing legal complexities that mean the agreement will not be finalised as planned before Linde’s annual shareholder meeting on May 10, a source familiar with the situation said.
** ConocoPhillips said on Thursday it would sell natural gas-heavy assets in San Juan basin, spanning New Mexico and Southwestern Colorado, to an affiliate of privately held Hilcorp Energy Co for about $3 billion.
** Wealth management firm HighTower said on Thursday it will acquire WealthTrust, which has interests in a dozen registered investment advisory firms with $6.4 billion in client assets nationwide, bringing HighTower’s total client assets to more than $47 billion.
** Chevron Corp, the second-largest U.S.-based oil producer, is exploring the sale of its 20 percent stake in Canada’s Athabasca Oil Sands project, which could fetch about $2.5 billion, according to people familiar with the situation.
** A consortium led by China’s Fosun International Ltd plans to buy between 20 and 25 percent in Russia’s top gold producer Polyus for up to $2 billion, RIA news agency reported, citing documents of a Russian-Chinese intergovernmental commission.
** Italian former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi finalised his troubled sale of soccer club AC Milan to a Chinese-led consortium on Thursday, a 740 million euro ($788 million) deal that tightens China’s grip on the game in Italy.
** A group of private equity companies have bid around 200 billion Swedish crowns ($22.26 billion) for the hygiene arm of tissue and forestry products firm SCA, daily Dagens Nyheter wrote on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.
** Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc withdrew its application to the Federal Reserve to boost its ownership stake in Wells Fargo & Co above 10 percent, and is instead selling 9 million shares to keep it below that threshold.
** Australia’s foreign investment watchdog has cleared Chinese-backed coal miner Yancoal Australia Ltd to pursue its $2.45 billion acquisition of Rio Tinto‘s, Coal and Allied Division, Yancoal said on Thursday.
** Japan’s Kobe Steel Ltd said it had acquired Swedish firm Quintus Technologies AB from shareholders led by U.S. private equity firm Milestone Partners for $115 million.
** Chinese internet firm Baidu Inc has agreed to acquire U.S. computer vision firm xPerception for an undisclosed amount to support their renewed efforts in artificial intelligence as Chinese tech firms face regulatory headwinds in U.S.
** A group of shareholders in Czech betting company Fortuna has filed an application for an injunction to halt the proposed acquisition of Romanian businesses from Penta Investments, Fortuna’s biggest stakeholder.
** The head of Dassault Aviation, the biggest shareholder in Thales, said he was not in favour of pursuing a joint venture in railway operations between the French defence electronics firm and transport group Alstom.
** Four suitors are left in the race to buy a minority stake in Atlantia’s motorway unit, two sources close to the matter said, as the Italian infrastructure group prepares to finalise the deal in coming weeks.
** Private-equity held Italian packaging firm Guala Closures is preparing a stock market listing or sale that may value the company at more than 1 billion euros ($1.06 billion) including debt, sources close to the matter said.
** Chiltern International Ltd, a privately held British drug research contractor, has hired investment bank Jefferies LLC to explore a sale that could value it at around $1.3 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
** Canada’s Dominion Diamond Corp has not had any contact with Washington Corp since the privately held company made public its unsolicited $1.1 billion offer in late March, said Dominion Chairman Jim Gowans.
** A company built around the research of Craig Wright, who has claimed to have invented the bitcoin cryptocurrency, has been sold to a private equity firm in a deal the company says is the biggest to date involving bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology.
** Lightower Fiber Networks is exploring a sale that its private equity owners hope will value the high-speed internet U.S. infrastructure company at more than $7 billion, including debt, according to sources familiar with the matter. (Compiled by Komal Khettry and Divya Grover in Bengaluru)