(Adds Corvex, Comair, Roquette, Italgas, HGGC, General Electric and Fincantieri; Updates Barclays and Linde)
May 31 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Wednesday:
** RHB Bank Bhd and AMMB Holdings Bhd (AmBank) will begin merger talks to create one of Malaysia’s biggest lenders, two sources familiar with the matter said.
** Barclays will sell shares worth 1.5 billion pounds ($1.94 billion) in Barclays Africa Group, the bank said, marking another stage in its exit from the continent to focus more on the United States and Britain.
** Deutsche Bank AG has begun the sale of parts of its Polish banking operations as the German lender offloads non-core assets and frees up capital, market sources told Reuters.
** A crack has appeared in German labour opposition to Linde’s proposed merger with U.S. peer Praxair, three people familiar with the deal told Reuters, making it likely that the $73 billion deal will be approved on Thursday..
** Saudi Aramco plans to build the Gulf’s largest shipyard through a joint venture with three companies that it announced, a $5.2 billion project aimed at helping reduce the economy’s reliance on oil.
** Saudi British Bank has appointed U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs to advise on a proposed merger with fellow Saudi Arabian lender Alawwal Bank, sources familiar with the matter said.
** Mallinckrodt Plc is exploring a sale of its generic drug unit, in a deal that could fetch as much as $2 billion and help pivot the specialty pharmaceutical maker toward higher-margin branded drugs, according to people familiar with the matter.
** First Data Corp has agreed to acquire smaller payments processing peer CardConnect Corp in a deal worth around $750 million, the companies said on Tuesday.
** Chilean mining company Antofagasta Minerals has sold its minority stake in a solar park in northern Chile, and will launch a power auction for one of its copper mines, the company said on Tuesday.
** Mexican restaurant operator Alsea said on Tuesday it had reached an agreement with U.S. investment firm General Atlantic to sell its minority stake in Grupo Axo, a company that operates fashion brands.
** Qatar Petroleum is warning Japanese natural gas buyers not to press too hard in long-term supply talks or Japanese companies could be squeezed out of Qatar’s LNG projects, sources have told Reuters.
** The European Banking Authority (EBA) said a merger with the bloc’s insurance regulator would yield few savings as staffing was already cut to the bone in core areas.
** Hedge fund Corvex Management LP on Wednesday reported a 5.5 percent stake in Energen Corp and called for the possible sale of the oil and gas producer.
** South Africa’s Comair has made a proposal to Botswana to operate a new state airline but is not interested in acquiring Air Botswana, the company’s chief executive said.
** French plant-based ingredient maker Roquette has agreed to buy pharmaceutical tablet maker Itacel from Brazilian peer Blanver in its first acquisition in a $6 billion global market in which it aims to take a leading role, it said.
** Italy’s biggest gas distributor Italgas will bid for the Italian assets of Spain’s Gas Natural and buy other smaller companies to help it boost its market share by a third, its chief executive said.
** HGGC has agreed to take a majority stake in database software firm Idera, valuing the company at roughly $1.125 billion including debt, the private equity firm said in a statement.
** General Electric Co said it had signed deals in Vietnam worth about $5.58 billion for power generation, aircraft engines and services, its largest single combined sale with the country in GE’s history.
** French President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to review the terms of a recent deal to sell a large stake in the STX France shipyard to Italian group Fincantieri. (Compiled by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay and John Benny in Bengaluru)