March 29, 2018 / 1:44 PM / 21 days ago

Deals of the day-Mergers and acquisitions

(Adds Exxon Mobil, Murray & Roberts; Updates Melrose Industries)

March 29 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Thursday:

** Exxon Mobil Corp roared into Brazil’s prolific offshore oil fields again on Thursday, clinching eight blocks in partnership with other oil firms eager to lap up the country’s choice reserves ahead of presidential elections later this year.

** German investor ATON said on Thursday it had raised its stake in South Africa’s Murray & Roberts to 33.1 percent as it seeks to takeover the engineering and construction firm despite management opposition.

** British companies have been swept up in a global boom in dealmaking that has seen the amount of M&A involving UK firms hit its highest level since 2007.

** U.S. exchange operator CME Group has made a $5.5 billion offer to buy NEX Group to create a cross-border powerhouse for investors trading in the multi-trillion dollar foreign exchange and government debt markets.

** Major oil companies will gather in Rio de Janeiro to vie for stakes in offshore blocks near Brazil’s coveted pre-salt oil play, even after a court tossed the top two areas out of the running.

** Renault shares rose sharply following renewed media reports of merger talks between the French carmaker and its longstanding alliance partner Nissan.

** Fujifilm Holdings said it would buy two biotechnology units of Japan’s JXTG Holdings Inc for about $800 million, as it looks to boost its healthcare business.

** Sky’s Italian unit has signed a deal with broadband company Open Fiber that will allow it to stream programs and offer high-speed broadband services, a source close to the matter said.

** Daimler and BMW’s new joint mobility services division aims to become a global player through both organic growth and acquisitions, Daimler Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber said.

** Serbia and a Chinese company signed a memorandum of understanding on a highway project linking a southwestern Serbian town and neighbouring Montenegro.

** Swiss engineering company ABB is considering acquisitions to increase its capabilities in artificial intelligence, Chief Executive Ulrich Spiesshofer said.

** Activist investor CIAM has criticised plans by Dutch food and retail group Ahold Delhaize to renew a governance structure that it said acts as a “poison pill” to potential suitors and has served to keep its share price depressed.

** Gazprombank considers its holding in Russia’s second-biggest mobile phone operator Megafon a short-term investment, Alexander Sobol, deputy chairman of Gazprombank’s management board, said.

** A far-reaching agreement between India’s Tata Steel and its Dutch unit could put at risk plans for a steel joint venture with Thyssenkrupp, the German group’s supervisory board vice chairman said.

** Shared work-space provider Jay Suites has agreed to take over the remaining lease of Canadian department store operator Hudson’s Bay Co office in Manhattan, Jay Suites president Juda Srour told Reuters.

** Greece’s National Bank (NBG) said that a potential deal to sell a 75 percent stake of its wholly-owned insurance subsidiary to EXIN Financial Services Holding had expired a day earlier.

** South Africa’s Gold Fields will buy a near 50 percent share of Asanko Gold Inc’s Ghana subsidiary and take a stake in the Canadian miner in a $202.6 million deal.

** A potential acquisition of London-listed Shire by Takeda Pharmaceutical was greeted with investor scepticism about its merits, with shares in the Japanese drug maker tumbling 7 percent.

** China’s Shanying Paper will take a majority stake in a new Finnish company Boreal Bioref, securing financing for a planned 950 million euro ($1.17 billion) pulp mill project in northern Finland, Boreal said.

** Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp is looking to buy a 25 percent stake in Swiss Re AG worth about $9.6 billion as the firms’ talks over a potential deal advance, Bloomberg reported.

** Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board has approved Unibail-Rodamco’s proposed $16 billion buy-out of shopping mall giant Westfield Corp, the companies said.

** India’s JSW Steel Ltd said it agreed to buy Acero Junction Holdings for $80.85 million, as it looks to expand its operations in the United States.

** Melrose Industries has narrowly clinched an 8 billion pound ($11 billion) takeover of British engineer GKN , winning an acrimonious three-month battle for control of the FTSE-100 company.

** Shares in Italian publisher Gedi Gruppo Editoriale rose sharply after a media report French entrepreneur Xavier Niel was interested in the company.

** Italian publisher Gedi dismissed as “groundless” press reports about alleged international projects, which sent the stock up more than 8 percent.

** U.S. judge Richard Leon on Wednesday warned attorneys for the Department of Justice and AT&T Inc to speed up the trial over the proposed merger of the large telecommunications company and Time Warner Inc, or risk missing the June 21 deadline to complete the deal. (Compiled by Nikhil Subba and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru)

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