March 18 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 1950 GMT on Friday:
** Private equity firm KKR KKR.N has agreed to buy Airbus Group's AIR.PA defence electronics business for 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), the European aerospace group said. Saudi Arabia's national oil company wants to buy more U.S. refining and chemical plants to expand its footprint in the world's largest energy market once the break-up of its joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell Plc is complete, sources said. Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM) PMII.MI and Banco Popolare BAPO.MI will decide by March 22 whether to accept tough conditions set by European Central Bank to approve their merger plan to create Italy's third-largest bank. Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA PETR4.SA is considering selling control of fuel distribution unit BR Distribuidora SA after bidders failed to emerge for a minority stake, two sources with direct knowledge of the plans said. A group of former Affymetrix Inc AFFX.O executives offered to buy the gene testing and analysis provider for about $1.5 billion, looking to derail the company's deal with Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (NYSE: TMO ) TMO.N . Building materials companies CRH CRH.I and LafargeHolcim LHN.S are contesting the final price of CRH's acquisition of assets from the Swiss-French company, the two companies said. South Africa's Steinhoff SNHG.DE offered $975 million for Darty Plc DRTY.L , Europe's No.3 electrical goods retailer, trumping a competing takeover bid from French retailer Fnac FNAC.PA . Sainsbury's SBRY.L , Britain's No. 2 supermarket, was given a clear run to buy Argos-owner Home Retail HOME.L for 1.4 billion pounds ($2 billion) after rival suitor, South Africa's Steinhoff International, withdrew from the race. British fund Zegona ZEG.L said it was in exclusive talks with Sweden's Teliasonera TLSN.ST to buy its Spanish budget mobile operator Yoigo. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (NYSE: HOT ) Inc HOT.N on Friday said a $13 billion cash offer from China's Anbang Insurance Group Co was superior to one from Marriott International Inc MAR.O , setting the stage for the largest ever deal by a Chinese company in the United States. TransCanada Corp TRP.TO , the company behind the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, said on Thursday it would buy Columbia Pipeline Group CPGX.N for $10.2 billion, creating one of North America's largest regulated natural gas transmission businesses. Buyout firm KKR KKR.N has started the sale of coffee machine maker WMF in a potential 1.5 billion euro ($1.70 billion) deal, attracting interest from several household appliances makers and private equity groups. Blackstone (NYSE: BX ) Group LP BX.N is nearing a deal to acquire Hewlett Packard Enterprise's HPE.N controlling stake worth about $940 million in Indian IT outsourcing services provider MphasiS Ltd MBFL.NS , according to three sources directly involved in the deal. Canadian mid-size oil producer Paramount Resources Ltd POU.TO agreed on Thursday to sell a natural gas processing complex in the Montney shale formation in Alberta to Pembina Pipeline Corp PPL.TO for C$556 million ($428.5 million) in cash. The planned takeover of Spanish wind power group Gamesa GAM.MC by Siemens (NS: SIEM ) SIEGn.DE will not include Gamesa partner Areva 's AREVA.PA offshore wind turbine technology nor its plans to build a turbine factory in France, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters. U.S. investment fund Elliott has raised its position in rail signaling company Ansaldo STS STS.MI to just under 29 percent, fuelling a row with top shareholder Hitachi 6501.T . Nine Entertainment Co Ltd NEC.AX , Australia's top-rating free-to-air television broadcaster, bought a 9.99 percent stake in Southern Cross Media Group Ltd SXL.AX for A$88 million ($67 million), Nine said on Friday. Online takeaway delivery firm Foodpanda is acquiring the Hong Kong assets of U.S.-based Delivery.com as it consolidates its position in key markets while shedding assets elsewhere. Kenya's KCB Group KCB.NR is looking at medium-sized lenders to buy as part of an expansion plan and is building up capital to boost its acquisition war chest, the chief executive of country's biggest bank by assets said on Friday. Bang & Olufsen A/S BO.CO has entered a strategic technology partnership with LG Electronics Inc 066570.KS on the development and production of its televisions, the Danish company said on Friday. Teen apparel retailer Aeropostale Inc ARO.N said it was exploring strategic alternatives, including a sale, after posting its 13th straight quarterly loss.
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