(Updates Siemens, Advent, Adds ArcelorMittal, Engaged Capital, Symantec, AIK bank, Safran, Glencore, Legend, Bonduelle, Eramet)
Feb 23 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2100 GMT on Thursday:
** German engineering group Siemens is set to gain unconditional EU antitrust approval for its $4.5 billion bid for U.S. software company Mentor Graphics, its biggest deal in this area in a decade, two people familiar with the matter said.
** Buyout firm Advent International raised the stakes in a battle for German generic drugs maker Stada Arzneimittel with a 3.6 billion euro ($3.8 billion) takeover offer, giving management until Monday to respond.
** PSA Group’s proposed acquisition of Opel would swiftly create savings and value from the General Motors European division’s turnaround and complementary brands, the French carmaker’s Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said.
Also, Britain’s business minister Greg Clark will meet the chief executive of Peugeot on Friday as the French carmaker explores the takeover of General Motors’> European division, known as Vauxhall in Britain and Opel on the continent.
** Japan’s SoftBank Group on Thursday denied it was in talks with Vodafone Plc’s Indian unit and Idea Cellular to pick up a stake in a potential merger between the two Indian wireless carriers.
** Bharti Airtel, India’s top telecoms network operator, is buying Norwegian Telenor’s India unit, in yet another consolidation move in the country’s telecoms sector driven by upstart rival Jio’s disruptive pricing.
** Swedish investment company Kinnevik sold half of its 13 percent stake in German e-commerce company Rocket Internet late on Wednesday.
** French waste and water group Suez is considering an acquisition of the water business of U.S. industrial conglomerate General Electric, a Suez spokeswoman said, confirming media reports.
** Online gaming company Kindred Group said on Thursday it was buying gaming firm 32Red for 176 million pounds ($219 million), further strengthening its position in the online casino market in the United Kingdom.
** The British government said on Thursday it has further reduced its stake in Lloyds Banking Group to 3.89 percent.
** SK Hynix Inc will consider making a fresh bid for Toshiba Corp’s flash memory chip business should the Japanese conglomerate offer more of it for sale, the chief executive of the South Korean chipmaker said.
** Sky Network Television could walk away from its bid to buy Vodafone’s New Zealand unit after the competition regulator on Thursday rejected the proposal citing monopoly concerns, Chief Executive John Fellet said.
** Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC said on Thursday it has formed joint ventures with investors to buy over 2.1 million sq feet (195,000 sq m) of office assets in the Washington DC metropolitan area, in an investment of more than $1.05 billion.
** Brussels Airport is being prepared for a potential sale as one of its owners is planning an exit from Belgium’s main hub, according to several people close to the matter.
** Barclays has agreed to pay Barclays Africa nearly $1 billion to fund investments needed for it to split from its African business, paving the way for the British bank to cut its stake to below 50 percent.
** German pump maker Busch’s holding in bid target Pfeiffer Vacuum has edged up above 30 percent, two and a half weeks before its 949-million-euro ($1 billion) offer runs out.
** Chinese buyers including materials giant Amer International and CITIC Securities Co Ltd are readying a rival 246 million pounds ($305 million) bid for English soccer club Southampton, a person with knowledge of the plans told Reuters.
** Israel-based Wix.com said on Thursday it acquired DeviantArt, an online community for artists and designers, for $36 million in cash and raised its revenue outlook for 2017.
** China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) has extended until April 28 its $43 billion tender offer for Swiss pesticides and seeds group Syngenta, it said.
** AXA has reached a “critical size” and is ruling out major acquisitions such as Italy’s Generali, the French insurer’s chief executive Thomas Buberl said.
** A report commissioned by Kenya’s telecoms regulator recommends breaking Safaricom up into separate telecoms and financial services businesses because the firm is too dominant, Kenya’s Business Daily newspaper said.
** The London Metal Exchange has reached a 50:50 revenue-sharing deal with a company founded by a group of banks to promote trade in its new gold futures contracts, sources said, aiming to overcome market scepticism surrounding their launch in June.
** France’s number one telecoms group Orange said it was interested in working with Canal Plus on acquiring sports rights rather than trying to buy a stake in the pay TV business.
** Australia’s chief competition regulator said it was concerned South32’s proposed $200 million acquisition of Peabody Energy’s Metropolitan colliery in Australia could curb competition in the supply of coking coal in the domestic market.
** Canadian meat packing company Maple Leaf Foods is hunting for acquisitions in the United States, after years spent upgrading old factories and shedding business lines, its chief executive officer said on Wednesday.
** ArcelorMittal Brasil SA and Votorantim SA said they would merge their long steel operations in Brazil, creating a company with a combined production capacity of 5.4 million tonnes of rolled steel per year.
** Activist investment fund Engaged Capital LLC nominated five members for election to Rent-A-Center Inc’s board, stepping up its efforts to push the furniture retailer to sell itself.
** Security software provider Symantec Corp held talks to acquire FireEye Inc about six months ago, but is not currently pursuing a deal with the cyber security company, people familiar with the matter said.
** Serbia’s AIK bank is allowed to buy more than 50 percent of Slovenia’s Gorenjska Banka, the Bank of Slovenia said on its website.
** Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said it would be “disciplined” in assessing whether to raise its C$3.8 billion ($2.9 billion) offer for Chicago-based PrivateBancorp and could buy back shares if the deal collapses.
** France’s Safran has rejected criticism by a UK hedge fund over the strategy, structure and financial terms of a proposed $9 billion friendly bid for Zodiac Aerospace and says it stands by its plans to acquire the seats manufacturer.
** Chinese investment firm Legend Holdings and three groups of private equity funds are putting the finishing touches to rival bids for Allfunds Bank, a deal worth close to 2 billion euros ($2.11 billion), sources close to the matter told Reuters.
** Bonduelle said it struck a deal to buy Ready Pac Foods, a privately held California producer of fresh, prepared salads and other produce, in a move expected to significantly expand the French company’s U.S. presence.
** France’s Eramet announced a preliminary agreement with Chinese steelmaker Tsingshan Group to revive a nickel mining project in Indonesia that Eramet had frozen during a downturn in nickel markets. (Compiled by Ankit Ajmera and Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru)