(Adds Lorillard, UBS, T-Hrvatski Telekom, MMX, Melrose, Unipetrol)
July 3 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 1700 GMT on Thursday:
** Tobacco majors Lorillard Inc and Reynolds American Inc are likely to merge as early as end of July, CNBC reported, citing sources. Reuters, in May, exclusively reported that Reynolds American was in active discussions to buy Lorillard in a complicated, three-way transaction that could see British American Tobacco PLC take a major role to back a potential merger.
** Investment bank UBS said on Thursday it was selling around 3 percent of Spanish steel maker Acerinox to institutional investors via an accelerated bookbuild.
** Czech oil processing group Unipetrol will take full control of the Czech refining sector after it buys the stake of Italy’s ENI in their joint refining firm Ceska Rafinerska, Unipetrol said on Thursday.
** Croatia’s privatization agency CERP plans to sell 3.49 percent of T-Hrvatski Telekom, the biggest local telecom operator said in a bourse filing on Thursday.
** Brazil’s MMX said late on Wednesday that it approved the lease and possible sale of its Corumba, high-grade iron ore unit, part of efforts to raise cash and restructure the troubled mining company controlled by Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista.
** Engineering turnaround specialist Melrose Industries Plc signaled it could sell its Elster Water business, a maker of water consumption meters, as it scouts for its next big investment.
** India’s new government is likely to sell a 5 percent stake in state-run Steel Authority of India Ltd in the last week of this month, people directly involved in the process said, kicking off what is set to be a busy divestment schedule.
** Activist hedge fund Jana Partners LLC said it planned to ask PetSmart Inc to explore a sale. Jana Partners reported a 9.9 percent stake in the company in a regulatory filing and said it expected to hold discussions with PetSmart’s management and board, shareholders and other interested parties.
** AbbVie Inc Chief Executive Richard Gonzalez has pressed the case for his $46 billion pursuit of drugmaker Shire Plc in discreet meetings with shareholders in London this week and is now weighing his next move, according to people familiar with the matter.
** Ousted American Apparel Inc Chief Executive Dov Charney has handed over his entire stake and voting rights in the struggling retailer to Standard General LP, enabling the fund to negotiate directly with the independent directors over the company’s future, two sources close to the matter said on Wednesday.
** Mediaset Espana has agreed to sell its 22 percent stake in pay-TV firm Canal+ to Telefonica, Spanish media reported on Thursday, giving full ownership of the TV firm to the telecoms group.
** Nigeria’s FBN Insurance on Thursday said it would launch a bid next week to buy out the 28.8 percent minority stake in Oasis Insurance that it does not already own, in a deal valued at 1.03 billion naira ($6.34 million).
** Global private equity firm TPG Capital is buying a stake in Hong Kong-based hedge fund sponsor HS Group Ltd (HSG) and establishing a strategic relationship with the company, HSG said in a statement on Thursday.
** Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric has agreed to take the first step towards a partnership with European missile maker MBDA to develop a medium-range air-to-air missile for the F-35 stealth fighter, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
** Italian cement maker Italcementi said on Thursday it had bought more than 95 percent of shares capital of Ciments Francais, reaching the threshold for the squeeze-out of minorities at its French unit.
** Volkswagen denied planning a bid for U.S. truck maker Paccar after analysts published comments in a research note from a senior executive of German rival Daimler saying he had heard of such a plan. According to Bernstein Research, Daimler Trucks Chief Wolfgang Bernhard insisted that “serious, multiple sources” informed him that VW was going to bid for Paccar in 2015.
** Outgoing Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek said on Thursday she planned to stop all privatizations until a new government was formed after the July 13 snap election. State investment firm SDH is in charge of selling 15 firms that were earmarked for sale last year and include the second largest bank Nova KBM and airport operator Aerodrom Ljubljana.
Europe’s biggest construction and concessions company, Vinci , had said on Thursday that it was bidding to buy the Slovenian airport operator.
** Hungary’s government plans to make further acquisitions in the energy sector and is also in advanced talks to buy Bombardier Inc’s stake in Hungarian rail transportation firm Bombardier MAV Kft, the development minister said on Thursday.
** Fiat SpA said late on Wednesday it had called a shareholder meeting on Aug. 1 to approve the merger between the Italian carmaker and its U.S. unit Chrysler.
** RSA Insurance Group Plc has reached an agreement to sell its business in China for 71 million pounds ($119 million), one of several smaller asset sales aimed at shoring up the British company’s finances.
** Lululemon Athletica Inc founder Dennis Wilson’s advisers have been talking to private equity firms including Leonard Green & Partners to find out if they are interested in buying the fashionable yoga gear maker, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter.
** Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co Ltd will issue up to 275.9 billion yen ($2.7 billion) in new shares to help fund its planned acquisition of U.S. peer Protective Life , according to a regulatory filing with the finance ministry.
** German retailer Metro AG is no longer ruling out selling its stake in Media-Saturn Holding to the electronics chain’s founder Erich Kellerhals, a newspaper reported on Thursday, citing a senior Metro executive.
** German sports-car maker Porsche said on Thursday it raised its stake in engineering company Bertrandt AG to about 29 percent.
** Swedish center-right government will in coming months unveil a new list of additional state-owned holdings in companies it will seek to sell during a possible third term in office, Finance Markets Minister Peter Norman said on Wednesday.
** Turkish Islamic lender Bank Asya said on Thursday reports that exclusive talks had ended with Qatar Islamic Bank over acquiring a stake in the Turkish lender did not reflect the truth.
** Zurich Insurance Group AG said it would take a hit of around $300 million to net income after selling its Russian retail business to the OLMA Group, part of the insurer’s strategy to shed underperforming units.
** Indonesian coal miner PT Bumi Resources Tbk has transferred a 19 percent stake worth $950 million in its unit, Kaltim Prima Coal, to China Investment Corp as part of its debt repayment to the sovereign wealth fund.
** Privately held Weinstein Company is looking to spin off its television division into a separate company, seven months after the film studio decided to expand that business, the New York Times reported.
** Occidental Petroleum Corp has failed to sell a stake in its Middle East business and now plans to sell some assets piece by piece, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
** Russia’s Rosneft has submitted details of a deal to buy an oil trading unit of Morgan Stanley to a confidential U.S. committee that evaluates national security risks, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.
** Commercial real estate broker BR Properties SA sold a stake in a real estate investment trust managed by investment banking firm Grupo BTG Pactual SA for 418.6 million reais ($188 million), according to a securities filing on Wednesday.
** State-run Caixa Economica Federal, Brazil’s largest mortgage lender, is considering selling a pool of distressed consumer loans to investors, the first step in a broader plan to get rid of bad loans and free up capital, a source said on Wednesday. About 3 billion reais ($1.35 billion) worth of defaulted loans could be sold to funds that specialize in dealing with distressed assets, the source said. ($1 = 2.22 Brazilian reais) (Compiled by Rohit T.K. in Bangalore)