Dec 5 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2100 GMT on Wednesday:
** A conglomerate controlled by Thailand’s richest man, Dhanin Chearavanont, has bought a minority stake in China’s Ping An Insurance for HK$72.7 billion ($9.38 billion) from global bank HSBC, a bold move that ranks as Asia’s second-largest deal this year.
** Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc on Wednesday said it struck a deal to buy Plains Exploration & Production Co and McMoRan Exploration Co for a total of $9 billion in a bold bid to diversify into the U.S. energy sector.
** A consortium led by Canada’s KingSett Capital will offer about C$2.6 billion ($2.62 billion) to acquire Primaris Retail REIT to bolster its portfolio of Canadian shopping malls at a time when U.S. retailers are looking to expand northward.
** Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras is having trouble selling more than $4 billion of offshore oil exploration and production assets in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, sources familiar with the matter said.
** Private equity groups Charterhouse and CVC have hired Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs to sell energy-metering firm Ista, two people close to the transaction said.
The sale is set to become one of the biggest private equity transactions in Germany next year with a price tag of up to about 3 billion euros ($3.9 billion), they told Reuters.
** Italian energy group ERG said on Wednesday it had agreed to buy wind power assets from France’s GDF Suez in Italy and Germany to become Italy’s largest wind energy producer.
ERG said the enterprise value of the deal was 859 million euros ($1.12 billion).
** U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group LP has agreed to buy Dutch tax consultancy Intertrust for a reported 675 million euros ($883 million).
** Germany’s Intersnack group is to buy KP Snacks, Britain’s second-largest savory snacks maker, in a deal that could pave the way for the sale of the rest of United Biscuits by the company’s private equity owners.
A source familiar with the situation said the deal was worth more than 500 million pounds ($805 million).
** Repsol filed a U.S. lawsuit to block Chevron Corp’s deal with Argentina’s YPF, ramping up the Spanish oil company’s legal response to the loss of its assets in Argentina.
** French-Tunisian media businessman Tarak Ben Ammar has acquired a TV network in Egypt in a deal worth tens of millions of euros that is the first step to create a pan-Arab media group.
** Citigroup is looking at the possible sale of its consumer banking business in Turkey, leaving it to focus on corporate and commercial banking in the country, its local unit said on Wednesday.
** Kit Digital Inc’s former chief executive significantly lowered the price he was willing to pay to buy the video technology provider, citing the company’s worsening liquidity and capital structure issues.
** Shareholders of chemical manufacturer TPC Group Inc approved the sale of the company to private equity firms First Reserve Corp and SK Capital, after Innospec Inc withdrew its bid earlier this week.
** A consortium led by Brazilian bank BTG Pactual and Spanish infrastructure firm Abertis is negotiating the purchase of road concessions from the Catalan government for 430 million euros ($563 million), two sources said.
** A Mexican private fund has offered to buy Maxcom Telecomunicaciones for around 700 million pesos ($54 million), or 2.9 pesos per share, the telecom firm said in a statement to the stock exchange on Tuesday.
** Mobile telecoms equipment joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks said on Wednesday it plans to sell its business support systems business to Redknee as part of a drive to sell non-core assets. The companies said Redknee will pay 15 million euros ($19.63 million), plus a maximum of 25 million euros for “performance-based cash earn-outs.”
** PMI Gold Corporation will merge with Keegan Resources Inc to form a new company focused on west Ghana, Africa’s second largest producer of gold.
** British retail billionaire Philip Green is in advanced talks with a U.S. private equity firm over the sale of a 25 percent stake in high street chain Topshop and Topman, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
** Gulf carrier Etihad Airways intends to take control of Air Berlin’s frequent flyer program TopBonus Ltd, according to a filing placed with the Austrian Cartel Authority on Wednesday.
** Spirits group Diageo Plc said it would consider buying out the 50 percent of premium vodka brand Ketel One it does not already own if it came on the market.
** Swiss regional bank Valiant and Berner Kantonalbank said they are in talks about a possible merger.
** Dutch insurer Aegon said on Wednesday it has agreed to buy Ukrainian insurance company Fidem Life to strengthen its position in the developing central and Eastern European markets.
** Italian bank UniCredit’s Chief Executive Federico Ghizzoni said part-owned Turkish lender Yapi Kredi Bank could complete a sale of its insurance arm Yapi Kredi Sigorta by the middle of next year if the right partner is found.
Yapi Kredi is currently in the process of trying to sell the insurance unit, which bankers have said was valued at around 1.6 billion lira ($900 million).
** The Czech government will decide on the privatization of Czech Airlines (CSA) as early as April next year after weighing possible bids from Korean Air and Qatar Airways.