Wednesday’s top stories:

Japan’s Suzuki Motor will sell a 19.9 percent stake to Volkswagen for $2.5 billion and use half the proceeds to buy shares in the German automaker, as the two firms form a formidable force in the auto industry.

Dutch mail group TNT (TNT.AS) needs to be a part of consolidation in the fragmented European courier market, a new shareholder says, fuelling investor pressure for TNT to sell its express business.

Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) agrees to buy BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) closed Ravensthorpe nickel mine for $340 million, paving the way to revive 5 percent of world nickel capacity.

U.S. dealmakers expect merger and acquisition activity to pick up in the first six months of 2010, with manufacturing, health care and financial services positioned to benefit most in the near term, a survey says.

In the Reuters Breakingviews corner, Jeffrey Goldfarb says Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman is off to a good start. “In his first big decision as Morgan Stanley’s CEO-to-be, Gorman has surrounded himself with veterans of the firm rather than bring in an outsider. This should help preserve the culture and ease internal fears about Gorman’s pedigree,” Goldfarb says.