March 17 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Friday:
** Private equity firm KKR & Co LP and Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec announced plans to buy USI Insurance Services from Onex Corp for $4.3 billion, including debt.
** China’s Sinopec is nearing a deal to buy Chevron’s South African oil assets for up to $1 billion to secure its first major refinery on the continent, several people familiar with the matter said.
** Exxon Mobil is seeking to sell half of its 2,500 petrol stations in Italy for up to 500 million euros ($537 million), several sources close to the process said.
** BP Plc said it had sold around half its roughly 20 percent stake in New Zealand Refining Co Ltd for NZ$80.4 million ($56.2 million) as part of a global portfolio review.
** Private equity firm KKR has struck a deal with six shareholders of GfK that clears the way to squeeze out the German market researcher’s minority shareholders.
** ArcelorMittal, the world’s top steelmaker, and Italian processor Marcegaglia have offered 1.6 billion euros ($1.72 billion) to buy Italy’s troubled Ilva steel plant, outbidding a rival consortium, three sources said.
** German container shipper Hapag-Lloyd on Friday postponed the completion date for its takeover of United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) to May 31 from March 31, but said the deal, worth 7 to 8 billion euros ($7.52-8.60 billion), was not at risk.
** Former Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech is in talks to sell his stake in Porsche SE in a deal that would shake up the ownership structure of the company that controls VW.
** Singapore telecom firm M1 Ltd’s three biggest shareholders, who own about 60 percent in the company, are evaluating selling their stakes, in the first recent sign of M&A activity in the local sector which is set to see increased competition.
** Ant Financial Services Group, the world’s largest financial technology company, is confident of closing a deal for U.S. money-transfer firm MoneyGram International Inc, a top executive told Reuters, despite a higher bid from a U.S. rival.
** Brazilian for-profit education company Estácio Participações SA denied a report that top managers were attempting to boycott a sale to larger rival Kroton Educacional SA, the latest hurdle to a deal that would create the sector’s global leader.
** Britain’s Circassia has secured the U.S. rights from AstraZeneca for two drugs to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive lung condition affecting millions of people, for up to $230 million.
** Baidu Inc said it had led an investment round into green car start-up NextEV, as the Chinese search engine giant looks for new growth drivers and as competition heats up in the fast-growing electric vehicles market.
** ValueAct Capital raised its stake in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc, in a move that could provide a confidence boost to the drug company three days after its largest shareholder sold out of the stock.
** Chinese technology conglomerate LeEco is looking to sell a 49-acre U.S. Silicon Valley property less than a year after buying it from Yahoo Inc, sources said, in what is the latest effort by the firm to ride out a cash crunch.
** Former Barclays chief executive, Bob Diamond, marked a return to investment banking in Britain with a Qatari-backed takeover of stockbroker Panmure Gordon, one of the oldest names in the City of London.
** Italy’s biggest utility Enel said any major deals in the European industry would have to wait until new industry rules were in place after elections this year in France and Germany.
** China Vanke said Shenzhen Metro would become its largest shareholder in terms of voting rights after a proxy agreement with its No. 3 shareholder, a move that gives Vanke management the upper hand in its power struggle with Baoneng Group.
** Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has offered Russian counterpart Rosneft a stake in a joint venture in the country’s Orinoco Belt extra-heavy crude area, five industry sources said, in a sign of the Latin American nation’s dire economic situation and Moscow’s growing muscle there.
** Sweden’s MTG has agreed to sell its Baltic broadcasting operations to Providence Equity Partners, the latest deal in its transformation from a traditional broadcaster to a digital entertainment firm. (Compiled by Ahmed Farhatha and Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru)