Deals du Jour

Orangina may change hands as Suntory Holdings is talking to the soft drinks maker’s current owners, Blackstone and Lion Capital. Suntory meanwhile is in talks itself to be sold to Kirin Holdings, its bigger rival.  

And Britain’s transport group National Express is ready to accept the 765 million pound bid offer from private equity house CVC and the Cosmen family, the Daily Telegraph says.

For these and other Reuters stories on deals, click here. Plus top stories in other media (some links may require subscription):

* U.S. private equity firm Blackstone is in talks to buy a 63 percent stake in Indian agro-chemicals and veterinary drugs maker Gharda Chemicals for about 6.3 billion rupees ($130 million), the Economic Times says.

* Japan’s Daiwa Securities Group (8601.T) and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316.T) are set to announce the end of their investment banking joint venture on Thursday, according to the Kyodo news agency.

Deals du Jour

An employee checks a halogen low energy consumption light bulb at an Osram factory in Molsheim, eastern France December 11, 2008. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler (FRANCE)Japan’s Toshiba Corp (6502.T) is lining up a bid for French nuclear group Areva’s (CEPFi.PA) power grid that could be worth over $5 billion according to Reuters sources.

The private banking assets of Dutch bank ING (ING.AS) are the subject of up to five bids which may reach $2 billion, sources familiar with the deal said. Swiss firm Julius Baer (BAER.VX) and Singapore’s DBS (DBSM.SI) have been identified to Reuters as definite bidders in the process.

For more from Reuters on the latest deals, click here.

Below is a round-up of all the market chatter from the press on Friday:

* AIG (AIG.N) will likely now announce the buyer of its Taiwan Nan Shan Life unit at the end of September instead of on Friday, Chinese-language newspaper Commercial Times reported, after potential buyers bid below the $2 billion the insurer had hoped for.  

Deals du Jour

A Qualicaps employee handles pills during a demonstration of the company's Visual Inspection Machine, which examines tablets for cracks and defects, at the 21st Interphex Japan pharmaceutical exhibition in Tokyo July 2, 2008. REUTERS/Michael Caronna (JAPAN)Japanese firm Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co Ltd (4506.T) agrees a $2.7 billion to buy Sepracor Inc (SEPR.O). Dainippon will acquire a 1,000-strong sales force and drugs to treat insomnia and epilepsy from U.S.-based Sepracor.

Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO.N) has agreed a 330 million euro purchase of German firm Brahms, a manufacturer of disease diagnosis tests. Thermo Fisher, which makes scientific instruments, said the deal would open up promising opportunities for commercialising new patents.

For more on this and the latest Reuters deals news, click here.

And here’s a round-up of deal-related stories from Thursday’s press:

Deals du Jour

A Sun Microsystems sign is pictured at the company's headquarters in Santa Clara, California in this March 18, 2009 file photo.

Oracle Corp’s (ORCL.O) acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc. (JAVA.O) could be delayed by up to four months if the European Commission’s antitrust authority decide to launch an investigation into the $7.4bn deal. US authorities cleared the sale last week, but the EC is concerned over Oracle gaining ownership of the MySQL database product, sources familiar with the situation tell Reuters.

For this and the rest of the latest deals news from Reuters, click here.

And here’s a round-up of other deals news reported in the press on Wednesday:

* The Cosmen-CVC Capital Partners consortium bidding for bus and train operator National Express (NEX.L) is looking for ways to make its offer more attractive, the Financial Times said.

Deals du Jour

A man carries a cardboard with a picture of a mobile phone inside a hall of the upcoming CeBIT fair in Hanover March 2, 2009. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke (GERMANY)

Portugal Telecom <PTC.LS> and Spanish firm Telefonica <TEF.MC> have both agreed to sell their 32.2 percent stakes in Moroccan telecoms firm Meditel to local investors in a deal likely to be closed by the end of the year

Reports suggest that online telephony firm Skype is set to be sold to private investors by its current owner eBay, with further details likely to be announced today. Sources indicated to the New York Times that co-founder of Netscape, Marc Andreessen is among the group of investors.

For the latest news from Reuters on mergers and acquisitions click here.

Here are some of the stories reported in today’s press (some external websites may require subscriptions):

Deals du jour

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross says he plans to invest further in banks, but new capital requirements for private equity investment in the sector are still too tight. Meanwhile, a senior German government official says Opel has the liquidity to operate until next year, as a rift appears to develop in the ruling party over whether the General Motors Co unit should be sold to Canada’s Magna International (MGa.TO).

For more on these stories, and the rest of the latest deals news from Reuters, click here.

Here’s what else we found in the papers (some external links may require subscriptions):

Deals du jour

U.S. banking regulators partially retreat from a much-criticized proposal to impose new rules on private equity investment in troubled banks, aiming to encourage responsible investment in distressed banks. And General Electric Co (GE.N) puts its security business up for sale in an auction that could fetch about $2 billion.

For more on these stories, and the rest of the latest deals news from Reuters, click here.

Elsewhere, there’s lots of buzz this morning about comments from Adair Turner, of Britain’s Financial Services Authority, on how much of what the City does is “socially useless” and how so-called Tobin taxes on transactions may be considered — prompting big pieces in the Guardian and the FT.

Deals du jour

The Obama administration pledges to stay out of General Motors’ choice of a buyer for its European Opel unit, while union leaders in Germany put more pressure on the U.S. automaker to make a decision. Meanwhile, Lowe’s Companies Inc (LOW.N), the No. 2 U.S. home improvement chain, is making its first foray outside North America through a joint venture with Woolworths Ltd (WOW.AX), Australia’s largest retailer.

For more on these stories, and all the other latest deals news from Reuters, click here.

And here’s what’s in the papers (some external links may require subscriptions):

Deals du jour

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says General Motors “urgently” needs to decide on Opel’s future, while specialty drugmaker Warner Chilcott moves to acquire Procter & Gamble’s $3 billion prescription-drug business.

For these stories, and all the rest of the latest deals news from Reuters, click here.

And here’s what caught our eye in the newspapers (some external links may require subscriptions):

Deals du Jour

Bharti Airtel will not sweeten its offer for MTN now that exclusive talks between the two have been extended. Instead, the talks are about administrative issues, permissions and a scheme of arrangements, Bharti Chairman Sunil Mittal told the Economic Times. And the fate of Opel hangs in the balance, with General Motors poised to pick a buyer. Its board will address the topic later on Friday, sources told us.

For these and other stories on deals, click here. And for an overview of what other media are saying, have a look at our daily Market Chatter.