DealZone Daily

Shares in banks, builders and companies part-owned in the Middle East fall around the world, and investors seek safety in government bonds on worries about Dubai’s ability to pay its debts.

Meanwhile, global miner BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) dismisses talk that rival Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) is baulking at a proposed $116 billion joint venture in iron ore, insisting the two are close to a binding agreement.

For the latest deals news from Reuters, click here.

And here’s the top stories from the newspapers (some external links may require subscription):

The charitable trust that’s the major shareholder in Hershey has sought the approval of the Pennsylvania attorney general for a possible $17 billion bid for Cadbury, the British confectioner being beseiged by US foods group Kraft, the WSJ writes. Hershey, which is weighing a solo $17 billion bid, as well as a possible joint bid with Italy’s Ferrero, needs the blessing of attorney general Tom Corbett before it can push ahead with plans to consummate a deal.

United Utilities has put its last non-core businesses on the block, the Times says. The sale of its last remaining non-regulated businesses in the UK, Australia and the Middles East, including outsourcing contracts with Welsh Water and British Gas Trading, could raise some 270 million pounds.

Another one bites the dust

The Essent electricity plant is seen in MoerdijkAnother auction — appropriately enough, this time of a waste management firm — is consigned to the dustbin of history. As Catherine Hornby and I wrote earlier:

“Dutch utility Essent scrapped the sale of its waste-management unit, blaming low prices and other problems with bids for the failure of an auction that had once aimed to raise a billion euros or more.

“The sale of Essent Milieu, which bankers began working on in late 2008, had originally promised to be one of Europe’s first big leveraged buyouts (LBOs) since the credit crunch, with a staple financing helping attract private equity firms such as BC Partners and PAI.