(Adds AT&T, Petrobras, Sika, Orange, RBS, Mitsubishi Motors, Renault)
July 24 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Friday:
** Anthem Inc said on Friday it would buy Cigna Corp in a deal valued at $54.2 billion, creating the largest U.S. health insurer by membership.
** AT&T received final U.S. regulatory approval to buy DirecTV for $48.5 billion, combining the country’s No. 2 wireless carrier with the largest satellite-TV provider.
** Brazilian oil workers began a 24-hour strike in an effort to stop efforts to shrink state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, according to the main union representing the workers.
** Sika’s controlling shareholder failed to win board changes to try to push through a disputed 2.75 billion Swiss franc ($2.9 billion) takeover of the Swiss chemical firm by France’s Saint-Gobain.
** French telecom operator Orange said it had acquired an additional 9 percent stake in Moroccan operator Meditel, raising its total holding to 49 percent.
** Britain has removed a potential obstacle to an imminent sale of its shares in Royal Bank of Scotland, telling a watchdog to delay finalising advice on the competition impact of spinning off scores of branches under the Williams & Glyn brand.
** Mitsubishi Motors Corp said it will stop building cars at a factory in Normal, Illinois, and seek a “strategic buyer” for the plant.
** French carmaker Renault is in talks to buy a minority stake in its Iranian joint venture partner, the Wall Street Journal cited an executive at the Iranian firm as saying.
** Shareholder advisory group Institutional Shareholder Services said it had “significant concerns” about a proposed takeover of PartnerRe Ltd by Axis Capital Holdings Ltd and recommended that PartnerRe’s shareholders vote against the deal.
** The European Commission said on Friday it had approved Finnish telecom equipment group Nokia Oyj’s planned purchase of Alcatel-Lucent SA because the two were not close competitors and would still face strong global competition.
** Barclays Plc is in exclusive talks to sell its retail banking business in Portugal to Spain’s Bankinter SA , a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.
** Japan’s Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co said on Friday it has agreed to buy U.S.-based StanCorp Financial Group Inc for $5 billion, the latest multi-billion deal by acquisitive Japanese insurers.
** Bookmakers Ladbrokes Plc and Gala Coral agreed to merge on Friday, creating a 2.3 billion pound ($3.4 billion) business which will be Britain’s largest high street betting group and better equipped to compete in the growing online market.
** Asset manager Ares Management LP said it would buy Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors for $2.55 billion to expand its investing expertise, especially in the energy sector.
** Euskaltel SA said on Thursday it had agreed an offer for fellow cable company R Cable, giving it an enterprise value of 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in the latest wave of consolidation in the Spanish telecommunications market.
** Visa Inc said it was in talks to reunite with former subsidiary Visa Europe Ltd in a deal that would give the global company more scale to compete with arch-rival MasterCard Inc.
** Luxury hotel owner Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc has hired a bank to help find a buyer for the company as it explores a sale, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
** Chinese investment group Fosun International Ltd made a takeover bid for wealth management group BHF Kleinwort Benson Group, the Belgian stock market regulator said, in a deal that would value the group at 675 million euros ($738.5 million).
** Thailand’s largest meat and animal feed producer, Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc, will buy a Russian poultry business from Dutch firm Agro-Invest Brinky B.V. for $680 million in cash, tapping into strong demand in Russia to offset flagging sales at home.
** Japan’s JFE Steel will invest in a steelworks being built by Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Corp in Vietnam, marking the first investment by a Japanese firm in blast furnace business in Southeast Asia, the Nikkei business daily said. JFE will finalise plans as early as August to take a roughly 5 percent stake in the plant’s operating company for about 30 billion yen ($242 million), the report said.
** China’s Anbang Insurance Group has completed its purchase of Delta Loyd Bank Belgium from its Dutch parent Delta Lloyd NV for 206 million euros, the two companies said on Thursday.
** France’s Danone SA is pulling the plug on efforts to revive its flagship Dumex infant formula unit in China on its own, swapping a business ravaged by food scares for a bigger stake in a domestic dairy giant as competition heats up in the world’s biggest market for formula milk.
Danone said it has struck a “preliminary agreement” to sell its Dumex unit to Chinese milk formula maker Yashili International Holdings Ltd.
** The head of global mining firm Anglo American Plc said on Friday the company could sell more assets than currently planned should market conditions deteriorate much further.
** The Vietnam Railways (VNR) has identified conglomerate Vingroup JSC as a potential investor to upgrade some stations the state monopoly controls, local media reported on Friday.
$1 = 0.91 euro $1 = 0.64 pounds $1 = 123.88 yen $1 = 1,161.29 won $1 = 0.9612 Swiss francs Compiled by Anet Josline Pinto and Kshitiz Goliya in Bengaluru