(Adds Linde, EDF, Engie, ADMIE, First Capital, Beam Suntory, Unilever, Danone; Updates Actelion, Mediaset, Assicurazioni Generali)
Dec 16 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 1445 GMT on Friday:
** Shares in Swiss biopharma company Actelion surged more than 8 percent to a record high after Bloomberg reported that talks with French suitor Sanofi were nearing an agreement that could be worth about $275 per share.
** InterOil Corp said it has increased the cap on an additional cash payment based on the output from a natural gas field in Papua New Guinea that was part of its sale agreement with ExxonMobil Corp.
** Britain’s Rentokil Initial Plc will combine parts of its workwear and hygiene units with those of Haniel, a family-owned German firm, to create a leading European provider with combined revenue of about 1.1 billion euros ($1.15 billion), the firms said.
** French media tycoon Vincent Bollore is bidding for a stake in Spain’s largest sports broadcasting rights firm at the same time as facing off with former Italian president Silvio Berlusconi for control of Mediaset.
** Italian Industry Minister Carlo Calenda met Vivendi Chief Executive Officer Arnaud de Puyfontaine in Rome, a source close to the matter said without providing details. Calenda earlier this week cautioned the French media group against launching a hostile takeover of Mediaset.
** Assicurazioni Generali does not intend to sell its French business, three people close to the situation said, following a report that German rival Allianz was in talks with Italy’s biggest insurer about a sale.
** Germany’s Linde and United States rival Praxair’s latest attempt to strike a deal has a higher chance of success thanks to extensive assurances about preserving German sites, a top German union representative told Reuters.
** Poland could expand a consortium of Polish companies bidding for French utility EDF’s power assets in the country, Polish Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski said.
** Brazil’s oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA has agreed to sell its 49 percent stake in the sugar and ethanol joint venture Nova Fronteira Bioenergia SA to partner São Martinho SA, both companies said in securities filings.
** Engie SA could enter Brazil’s natural gas industry through acquisitions as state-controlled Petróleo Brasileiro SA retreats, the French utility’s top executive in the country told Reuters.
** Russian state holding company Rosneftegaz said it had received proceeds from the sale of a 19.5 percent stake in oil company Rosneft.
** Brazil’s Vale SA has concluded the sale of a 13.6 percent stake in mining company Mineração Paragominas to Norway’s Norsk Hydro ASA for $113 million, the company said in a securities filing.
** Novartis is buying privately held drugmaker Ziarco Group for an undisclosed sum to gain access to its investigational eczema medicine, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant said.
** China’s State Grid, the world’s biggest utility, signed the purchase of a minority stake in Greece’s power grid operator ADMIE, China’s second big investment in the debt-laden country in a matter of months.
** First Capital Securities Co Ltd plans to acquire JPMorgan Chase & Co’s minority stake in a Chinese joint venture, in what would be the first departure by a prominent global investment bank from China’s securities sector.
** Chinese aviation and shipping conglomerate HNA Group will make a payment to shareholders of Gategroup Holding later this month to complete its takeover of the Swiss airline catering firm, UBS, the financial adviser on the deal said.
** Johnston Press Plc, publisher of the Scotsman, the Yorkshire Post and a string of local newspapers, said it had agreed to sell its unit Johnston Publishing East Anglia Ltd to Iliffe News and Media Ltd for 17 million pounds ($21.16 million) in cash.
** Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund said it would buy chemicals and handling company Canexus Corp for C$1.65 ($1.24) in cash per share.
** European industrial equipment supplier Loxam SAS raised its offer for UK’s Lavendon Group Plc to 425 million pounds ($528.83 million), in response to a counter bid by Belgian industrial equipment supplier TVH Group NV.
** The European Commission cleared France’s Danone to proceed with its $10.4 billion purchase of U.S. organic food producer WhiteWave, subject to it selling a business in Belgium.
** Beam Suntory, the world’s third-largest spirits company known for Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbons, is to buy a controlling stake in London gin distiller Sipsmith, aiming to cash in on rising demand for craft spirits and gin.
** Unilever, said it would buy Living Proof, a premium hair care business, for an undisclosed price, the latest in a string of small deals for the company’s personal care business. (Compiled by Gayathree Ganesan in Bengaluru)