NEW YORK: The majority shareholder of Malaysia's Shell Refining Co is considering selling its stake in the business, but no agreement has yet been reached with any potential buyer. This is among the bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals reported by 2100 GMT on Friday:
* American International Group Inc has decided to pursue a spin-off of its mortgage insurance business, according to people familiar with the matter, in a move that would come as the U.S. insurer fends off activist Carl Icahn.
* Brazil's state-led oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA is on the verge of selling its stake in Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem SA and expects to complete the sale by the end of June, a Petrobras source told Reuters on Friday.
* Italy's competition watchdog is checking whether Arnoldo Mondadori's acquisition of rival RCS MediaGroup's book unit would give the publisher controlled by the family of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi a dominant position on the market.
* Philips plan to shed its lighting businesses suffered a setback on Friday when a $3.3 billion deal to offload the components division to Asian buyers was blocked by the United States on security grounds.
* Swiss luxury group Richemont has bought the 40 percent of high-end watchmaker Roger Dubuis it did not already own, with analysts forecasting more small manufacturers will be snapped up by bigger rivals in an industry struggling with weaker demand.
* Oil producer Petroceltic's largest shareholder Worldview Capital Management said it may make a cash offer to buy out the remaining shares in the Irish company.* Barclays is pressing ahead with the sale of its Asian private wealth business and has picked Lazard to help advise on the deal amid efforts to scale back its Asian operations, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.
* Investors are threatening not to fund a $2.75 billion loan backing office supply retailer Staples' purchase of rival Office Depot after pricing moved against the deal, which could delay the completion of an acquisition already challenged by antitrust issues.
* Thailand's largest private power producer, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Pcl, said it will invest 7.5 billion baht ($208 million) over the next five years in a nuclear power plant in China.
* Slovenia is seeking bids for the purchase of state-owned metal products maker MLM d.d., according to an advertisement in daily paper Finance on Friday.
* Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Friday he expected merger activity among the country's cooperative banks in the coming weeks.
* The Russian government has approved the sale of a stake in the Yamal LNG plant to China's Silk Road Fund in a deal which should bring another $2 billion in investment for the project.
* Illycaffe, the name of which is synonymous with Italian espresso, is committed to staying independent even as consolidation in the global coffee sector heats up after a string of deals formed a new No. 1 player.
* Australian markets operator ASX Ltd said on Friday it had bought a minority stake in a U.S. blockchain developer, positioning itself to become the first stock exchange in the world to use distributed ledger technology for public companies.
* KKR & Co said on Friday it had teamed up with a large state-owned Chinese asset manager and a local investment manager to co-invest in credit and distressed opportunities in China.
* International Business Machines Corp said on Thursday it bought Ustream Inc, an online video streaming service provider, to boost its cloud offerings for businesses.
* Yahoo Inc will decide on its next strategic steps only after releasing quarterly earnings on Feb. 2, people familiar with the matter said, as the company continues to resist investor calls to explore a sale of its core Internet assets. - Reuters
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