(Adds Cinven, Apollo, Sahara, Hard Lemonade, BT, Orange, and others)
Feb 4 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2100 GMT on Wednesday:
** Staples Inc, the No. 1 U.S. office supplies retailer, agreed to buy No. 2 Office Depot Inc in a $6.3 billion deal designed to help it better compete against Wal-Mart Stores Inc and online rivals such as Amazon.com Inc .
** Europe’s second-biggest oil company Total is preparing for the sale or listing of its rubber and insulation unit Hutchinson that could be worth up to 4 billion euros ($4.57 billion), sources told Reuters.
** Canadian financial services holding company Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd said on Tuesday it had agreed to acquire the Ukrainian insurance operations of Australia’s QBE Insurance Group, expanding its presence in Eastern Europe.
** J M Smucker Co has agreed to buy Big Heart Pet Brands for $3.2 billion, snapping up the popular Meow Mix and Milk-Bone brands in its first venture into the fast-growing U.S. pet food market.
** Yahoo Inc has decided to spin off its Small Business unit as part of the spinoff of its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
** European buyout firm Cinven is sounding out prospective bidders for its specialty pharmaceuticals business Amdipharm Mercury Company. A deal that could value it at more than 1.7 billion pounds ($2.59 billion), sources familiar with the situation said.
** Diversified chemicals maker Tronox Ltd said it would acquire FMC Corp’s Alkali Chemicals division for $1.64 billion to expand in faster-growing developing economies.
** Private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC is in advanced talks to acquire Protection 1 in a deal that could value the U.S. home security company at close to $1.5 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
** Subrata Roy, the boss of Indian conglomerate Sahara, is in a New Delhi prison on contempt-of-court charges and needs to post $1.6 billion in bail to get out. To help raise the money, Sahara is in talks to refinance its overseas hotels, including New York’s Plaza.
** Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding, the investment firm owned by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, reduced the size of its stake in media giant News Corp by 5.6 percent, it said on Wednesday.
** Mexican metals miner and railroad operator Grupo Mexico said it was considering a public offering for about 15 percent of its rail business.
** Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co, owner of one of the best known malt beverage brands in the United States, is in the early stages of exploring a sale that could value it at more than $1 billion, according to two people familiar with the matter.
** BT has reached agreement with Orange and Deutsche Telekom to buy their UK mobile network operator EE and a deal could be announced as early as Thursday morning, a person familiar with the situation said.
** French telecoms group Orange has explored purchasing some assets in Africa including ones owned by India’s top mobile phone carrier Bharti Airtel, as the company seeks to strengthen its business in Africa, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
** U.S. investment firm Cerberus Capital Management is set to finalise a deal to buy a portfolio of Italian state-owned properties by the end of February, a source close to the matter said on Wednesday.
** South Africa’s Baroka Platinum has offered 3 billion rand ($263 million) to buy Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats) AMSJ.J stake in the Bokoni mine in Limpopo province, a document seen by Reuters shows.
** GlaxoSmithKline has put its 7.9 percent stake in Danish biotech company Genmab up for sale to institutional investors, the British drugs giant said on Wednesday.
** Real estate group CA Immo boosted its cash buffer by 130 million euros ($148 million) by selling logistics assets, including a portfolio of properties to Polish developer P3, the Austrian company said on Wednesday.
** A controlling stake in Saudi Arabian supermarket chain Al Raya for Foodstuff Co has been put up for sale by its private equity owners Levant Capital and The Rohatyn Group (TRG), sources aware of the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
** Excellere Capital Group would like to buy the “bad bank” that is winding down the assets of defunct Austrian lender Hypo Alpe Adria, the U.S. firm said on Wednesday.
** German mortgage lender Deutsche Pfandbriefbank (PBB) is gearing up for a stock market listing after completing a restructuring, four sources familiar with the matter said.
** China Power Investment Corp is merging with the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp, as Beijing drives consolidation in its rapidly expanding nuclear power sector with the aim of eventually exporting reactors.
** Shares in German property company Deutsche Euroshop rose 1.9 percent, with traders citing market talk of a potential takeover bid from real estate group Unibail-Rodamco .
** Developer Sunac China Holdings has agreed to buy a 49.3 percent stake in struggling Chinese property firm Kaisa Group Holdings, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing an interview with Sunac chairman Sun Hongbin.
** Telecom Italia’s investor Findim wants to keep its stake in the Italian phone group at just below 2 percent, a spokesman for Findim said on Wednesday.
** Spain’s BBVA will sell its remaining 4.7 percent stake in China’s CITIC Bank when it can, Chairman Francisco Gonzalez said on Wednesday, after recognising that the bank’s venture in the country had not gone according to plan.
** PAI Partners, a Paris-headquartered private equity firm, has bought outdoor outfitter AS Adventure Group from British private equity rival Lion Capital LLP, the companies said on Wednesday.
** Ivory Coast abolished a state monopoly on passenger traffic on the lagoon surrounding the commercial capital Abidjan, the government announced on Wednesday, clearing the way for outside investors.
** Germany’s GEA is confident it will make further acqusitions this year after buying a Dutch and a Danish food-technology company last year, its chief executive said.
** Unlisted Chinese asset manager Heaven-Sent has offered to buy junior South African gold producer Village Main Reef , the companies said on Wednesday, in a deal that values the target at 637 million rand ($56 million). ($1 = 11.4200 rand) ($1 = 0.8757 euros) (Compiled by Anannya Pramanick in Bengaluru)