Dec 21 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2100 GMT on Friday:
** U.S. conglomerate General Electric Co has agreed to buy the aviation business of Italy’s Avio for $4.3 billion, in a sign of confidence about the country’s underlying strength despite its deep recession.
** Aviva, Britain’s No. 2 insurer, has agreed to sell its U.S. business for $1.8 billion, far less than it paid for it and the biggest disposal so far in a reorganisation aimed at boosting its underperforming share price.
The company is being bought by Athene Holding, a specialist life insurer majority-owned by U.S. private equity company Apollo, Aviva said on Friday.
** Industrial machinery maker Gardner Denver Inc has ended talks with SPX Corp and has invited the private equity firms that made offers for the company to re-engage in a sale process, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.
** Casino operator Pinnacle Entertainment Inc will acquire Ameristar Casinos Inc for about $869 million to expand mainly in the U.S. Midwest and South, sending Pinnacle’s shares to their highest in more than three years.
** Expedia Inc said on Friday it would acquire a 61.6 percent equity stake in trivago, a German travel search engine that focuses on hotels, for roughly $632 million in cash and common stock, a move that will expand Expedia’s worldwide reach.
** Shaw Group Inc shareholders on Friday approved Chicago Bridge and Iron Co NV’s proposed takeover of the U.S. engineering company.
** Russian state industrial conglomerate Russian Technologies said on Friday it plans to dispose of its telecoms assets, including an indirect stake in Russia’s No.2 mobile phone operator MegaFon, seen as non-core for the company.
** Cogeco Cable Inc, the main unit of media and telecom company Cogeco Inc, said it would buy PEER 1 Network Enterprises Inc for about C$526 million ($532 million) to expand its cloud computing and data hosting services.
** U.S. diversified manufacturer Crane Co said it will buy MEI Conlux Holdings and its Japanese affiliate for about $820 million from private equity firms Bain Capital and Advantage Partners to widen its base in making machines that can handle money through automated mechanisms.
** Dutch dredger Boskalis has raised its cash offer for Dockwise to 733 million euros ($970 million) and said it owned or had secured a total of 83.5 percent of the Dutch maritime transport group in the takeover.
** Private equity investor EQT said it would buy bulk liquid storage provider Westway Group Inc for about $419 million, a year after the company spurned a similar buyout bid.
** Germany’s No.2 energy group RWE has sold its 57.5 percent stake in regional utility KEVAG for about 220 million euros ($291 million), it said.
** TJX Cos Inc said it bought Sierra Trading Post, an off-price Internet retailer, for about $200 million, the latest brick-and-mortar store to try to attract customers who shop online via smartphones and tablets.
** Indonesia’s biggest listed oil company, PT Medco Energi Internasional, has bought a 49 percent stake in construction company Api Metra Graha for $101.6 million from Jaden Holdings Ltd, Medco told the Jakarta stock exchange.
** Italian lender UBI Banca has finalised the sale of its UBI Insurance Broker unit in a deal that will generate a capital gain of 8 million euros ($11 million) in the fourth quarter, the company said on Friday.
** Shares in SMA Solar, Germany’s top solar company, rose on Friday after an acquisition gave it access to China, seen as overtaking Germany next year as the world’s No.1 solar market.
** Conwert Immobilien is to buy 60 percent of German residential property group Kommunale Wohnen from shareholders, boosting the Austrian company’s German portfolio by two thirds.
** German steel distributor Kloeckner & Co sold a big chunk of its operations in Eastern Europe as it steps up a wider restructuring programme in the face of a weak outlook.
** Austria’s competition authority said it would not appeal against Telekom Austria’s acquisition of Orange’s budget mobile brand Yesss, clearing the way for a wider consolidation of the country’s telecom market.
** Britain’s competition regulator has blocked the proposed acquisition by Akzo Nobel NV of Metlac Holding, ruling it would substantially reduce competition in the supply of metal packaging coatings for beer and beverage cans in the UK.
** Japan’s Olympus Corp and Sony Corp said that a planned merger of the two firms’ medical business will take longer than expected due to delays in obtaining regulatory approval abroad.
** Spanish banks Unicaja and CEISS said in a statement on Friday they had agreed to call off a planned merger for now.
** U.S. railcar maker Greenbrier Cos Inc yet again rejected a bid from American Railcar Industries Inc, controlled by activist investor Carl Icahn, saying even the sweetened offer undervalues the company.
** Oil giant ConocoPhillips will sell its Nigerian businesses to Oando Energy Resources Inc for about $1.79 billion, the companies said on Thursday.
** Mohawk Industries Inc, a U.S. ceramic tile maker, said on Thursday that it will buy Italian ceramics manufacturer Marazzi Group for about $1.5 billion to boost its position in the United States, Russia and Europe.
** Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri SpA plans to acquire Singapore-listed STX OSV Holdings for $1.2 billion to compete better in an industry dominated by South Korean companies.
** JPMorgan Chase & Co, one of the biggest card issuers and transaction processors, said on Thursday it has bought Silicon Valley firm Bloomspot Inc to expand its consumer marketing programs for merchants.