Oct 2 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 1000 GMT on Wednesday:
** Portugal Telecom and Brazil’s telecommunications giant Oi, in which PT is the largest shareholder, plan to merge to form a Brazilian entity with projected synergies worth a net 1.8 billion euros ($2.43 billion).
** Russia’s sporadic drive to raise money from state-owned assets took a step forward, when the government said it would cut its stake in diamond miner Alrosa as part of a $1.6 billion share sale by the company. Alrosa is the world’s biggest diamond producer by output. Under the offering, Russia’s federal and regional governments plan to sell 14 percent of the company’s shares. An additional 2 percent shares will be sold by Alrosa’s subsidiary, Wargan Holdings Ltd, the company said.
** Russia’s No. 2 crude oil producer Lukoil wants to leave a Russian consortium developing a large oil project in Venezuela, the Kommersant daily reported, citing sources close to the project. Lukoil is developing heavy oil in Venezuela’s Orinoco basin as part of the Junin-6 consortium, led by Russian state oil major Rosneft.
** Italian energy company Eni wants to hive off its 50 percent stake in the German natural gas transmission networks it co-owns with utility EnBW, a German newspaper reported. Either EnBW or a consortium of EnBW and its main public-sector shareholders are likely to buy Eni’s stake in the gas networks holding comprising Gasversorgung Sueddeutschland and Terranets BW, newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung said, without specifying its sources. The deal could be worth a mid triple-digit million euro amount, the paper said.
** GDF Suez is in talks with Japan’s Mitsui & Co over the sale of 28 percent of a company that owns most of its power plants in Australia as well as its distribution business in the country, business daily Les Echos reported. Mitsui has offered A$434 million ($407 million) for those assets, and could top this up with a results-related premium of up to $47 million, the paper wrote, without naming its sources.
** Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd said it would sell its Belgian banking operations, which analysts estimate to be worth about 300 million euros ($406 million), so it can build up its Belgian life insurance and pensions business.
** The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) has bought a 2 percent stake in Europe’s biggest online fashion retailer Zalando, continuing a push into e-commerce investment for the fund. Berlin-based Zalando said OTPP took the stake as part of a 4 percent capital increase at the group. Danish fashion magnate Anders Holch Povslen, who bought a 10 percent stake in Zalando in August, also took part in Wednesday’s capital increase to keep his share at 10 percent.
** BNP Paribas SA has no interest in taking over German lender Commerzbank, the French bank’s Chief Executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafe said. BNP has been mentioned as a potential suitor for Germany’s second-biggest lender.
** Latin American precious metals firm Hochschild Mining said it planned to raise up to $96 million to buy the remaining 40 percent stakes in its Peruvian assets for up to $280 million. The Lima-based company, which currently holds a 60 percent interest in the Peruvian Pallancata mine and the Inmaculada project assets, said it would acquire International Minerals Corp mainly for its 40 percent interest in the jointly-owned assets.
** Dutch real estate holding company Kardan, the top shareholder of Warsaw-listed real estate group Globe Trade Centre, is looking to sell the 27.75 percent stake to help pay off its debt pile, GTC and Kardan said. Kardan said it expected the sale to take place before the end of the year, although it warned the success would depend on the terms of the binding offers.
** The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, in which three private equity firms recently bought stakes, may consider an initial public offering or a strategic sale over the next few years as part of an exit strategy for investors, its chief executive said. The funding would allow the company to accelerate its growth plans in southern California and north Asia as it seeks to double its revenue from directly-owned and franchised-run stores in five years to a total of $1 billion, Mel Elias, also the president of the Los Angeles-based firm, told Reuters.
** Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, controlled by Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, is planning to float its healthcare and beauty retail business Watsons within the next 12 to 18 months, a Hong Kong newspaper reported. The Hong Kong Economic Times, quoting market sources, said the initial public offering could raise between $8 million and $10 billion.
** Tesco Plc will inject retail assets and HK$4.325 billion ($558 million) in cash into a hypermarket joint venture with China Resources Enterprise Ltd, the Chinese state-backed firm said. China Resources will hold 80 percent of the venture, while Tesco will take 20 percent, according to a filing to the Hong Kong bourse.
** La Quinta Inns & Suites has attracted interest from a number of potential suitors that could value the Blackstone Group LP-owned budget hotel chain at as much as $4.5 billion, three sources with knowledge of the matter said this week. Firms that are looking at La Quinta include hospitality holding companies Choice Hotels International Inc and Hospitality Properties Trust, as well as private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC, the sources said.
** Canadian fertilizer company Agrium Inc said on Tuesday that it has completed its purchase of Viterra Inc’s Canadian farm retail stores. Agrium, already the biggest U.S. retail seller of fertilizer, chemicals and seed, will get 210 stores across Western Canada from Glencore Xstrata, which acquired Viterra in 2012.
** Cargill Inc, one of the world’s leading cocoa traders, is in the final stages of a deal to buy Archer Daniels Midland Co’s cocoa business, sources familiar with the situation said on Tuesday, creating a global giant. Financial details of the deal were not clear, although some sources had said this summer that the unit might be worth as much as $2 billion.