(Adds Halliburton, Plains All American, Cosco, Banca Popolare; updates Time Warner))
Jan 12 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2100 GMT on Tuesday:
** Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has bought U.S. film studio Legendary Entertainment for about $3.5 billion, turning its chairman, Wang Jianlin, into a Hollywood movie mogul as China’s richest man steps up a drive to diversify his business empire overseas.
** The private equity owners of VAT Vakuumventile are working with bankers on a potential 1.5 billion Swiss franc ($1.5 billion) exit of the Swiss vacuum valve maker, four sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
** The European Commission said it had launched an in-depth investigation into oilfield services provider Halliburton Co’s planned purchase of its smaller rival Baker Hughes Inc .
** Time Warner Inc Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes is against a sale or a spinoff of premium cable channel HBO, but hinted he would be open to a sale of the whole company, the New York Post reported, citing sources.
** Finland’s second-biggest retailer Kesko said it was buying building products supplier Onninen in an all-share deal worth 369 million euros ($401 million), allowing it to serve more business customers.
** Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings is considering acquiring Grolsch and Peroni, two beer brands owned by SABMiller Plc, to secure growth beyond a saturated and ageing home market, a source familiar with the matter said.
** Travel search engine Skyscanner said Malaysia’s sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional, Yahoo Japan Corp and three other companies would jointly invest about 128 million pounds ($185.9 million) in the company.
** Israel’s Frutarom, one of the world’s largest flavoring and specialty natural ingredient companies, continued expanding on Tuesday with the purchase of a U.S. biotech firm whose products help the body absorb vitamins and minerals. The $20 million deal for New Jersey-based Grow Co was Frutarom’s 29th acquisition in the past five years.
** Private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC is in advanced talks to buy for-profit education provider Apollo Education Group Inc, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.
** Japan’s ANA Holdings said it plans to buy an 8.8 percent stake in state-controlled Vietnam Airlines, becoming its main strategic partner in a deal that values the Southeast Asian carrier at about $1.2 billion.
** Nevs, the China-focused consortium that bought bankrupt Swedish carmaker Saab, said on Tuesday it had signed a framework deal worth about 8.5 billion crowns ($996 million) with China Volant Industry Co (Volinco) for 20,000 electric cars.
** Greece only received a bid from China’s Cosco Holdings Co Ltd for a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority SA, the operator of the country’s biggest port, the privatisation agency said on Tuesday.
** French voucher and prepaid card provider Edenred unveiled plans to expand in Brazil through a joint venture with Embratec that will see it double the size of its fuel card business in the South American country.
** Grupo BTG Pactual SA, the Brazilian investment bank selling assets in the wake of the arrest of founder André Esteves, said on Tuesday that discussions to sell a 51 percent stake in insurer Pan Seguros SA are taking place.
** The chief executive of Mubadala Petroleum said low oil prices could create buying opportunities for the Abu Dhabi-based firm in Asia, but the current market means it is avoiding ultra deep water exploration investment in West Africa.
** Canadian tour operator Transat AT Inc said on Tuesday it was looking for buyers for its operations in France and Greece.
** Italian cooperative banks Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl and Banco Popolare Sc are in talks to agree a merger by early March, four sources close to the matter said on Tuesday, which would create Italy’s third-largest lender.
** Italy plans to privatise national rail services by selling a stake in the railways’ holding company, the economy minister said on Tuesday, hinting the sale could take place in 2017. (Compiled by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru)