DealZone

DealZone Daily

Australia’s competition watchdog blocked National Australia Bank’s $13 billion agreed deal for wealth manager Axa Asia Pacific Holdings, opening the door for rival bidder AMP to make a comeback. Australia’s competition regulator defied expectations it would give conditional approval for a deal, instead issuing a flat rejection on the grounds a tie-up would hurt competition for retail investors.

British train and bus operator Arriva said it is in advanced talks with Deutsche Bahn about the German state rail company’s 775 pence a share bid, valuing the company at 2.7 billion euros including debt.

European consumer goods group Unilever will kick off the sale of its frozen food arm Findus next week, expecting to draw bids from private equity groups including Permira, Lion Capital and BC Partners.

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More M&A and corporate finance news from other media:

U.S. government controlled insurer AIG is considering pursuing Goldman Sachs over losses incurred on $6bln on mortgage-backed securities. The move follows the SEC’s decision to file civil fraud charges against Goldman and could spark actions from other investors who have lost money, the FT writes.

Guy Hands’s Terra Firma may ask investors for 360 million pounds – three times the amount previously suggested — to see troubled music group EMI through its debt obligations until 2015, Bloomberg reports.

DealZone Daily

United Airlines has restarted merger talks with Continental Airlines as it eyes the top spot as the world’s largest air carrier. The two laid much of the ground work for a deal in 2008 but decided to puruse an alliance instead. A deal could leave US Air jilted despite four months of negotiations with United but, in a further twist to the aerial saga, United has also raised the topic of a deeper three-way cooperation between the airlines.

Top Macarthur Coal shareholder CITIC Resources said it has not yet decided whether to support a A$16 a share offer from Peabody Energy valuing the Australian miner at $3.8 billion. The 22.4 percent stakeholder said it needs more information to make a final decision on the Peabody bid.

Prudential’s Asia CEO said the British insurer is under no pressure from its shareholders to cut the $35.5 billion purchase price for AIG’s Asian life insurance unit.

FirstGroup targets National Express

FirstGroup, the Aberdeen-based transport group led by its chairman Martin Gilbert, confirmed on Monday that it made an approach for smaller, embattled National Express on June 19.

But, National Express’s newly appointed chairman, John Devaney, and his chief executive, Richard Bowker, believe they can go it alone and have firmly rebuffed First Group. They are hoping, instead, to launch a £400 million rights issue.

This is not the first time the two companies have been linked as merger partners: there was talk three years ago of doing a £3 billion, nil-premium merger.