** Comcast said it had secured over 75 percent of Sky’s shares, bringing it closer to finalising the $40 billion takeover of the British pay TV group.
** Blackstone Group said it would acquire global life sciences investment firm Clarus for an undisclosed amount, as the investment manager pushes deeper into the healthcare sector.
** Honda Motor Co Ltd will invest $2.75 billion and take a 5.7 percent stake in General Motors Co’s Cruise self-driving vehicle unit, to jointly develop autonomous vehicles for deployment in ride services fleets around the world.
** Smiths Group said it would buy United Flexible Inc, a U.S.-based maker of parts for aircraft engines, from private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners for an enterprise value of $345 million.
** Barnes & Noble Inc said it would explore strategic options after several parties, including founder-chairman Leonard Riggio, showed interest in buying the bookseller.
** Saudi British Bank (SABB) and smaller rival Alawwal Bank are merging to create Saudi Arabia’s third-biggest lender with a market capitalization of about $17.2 billion.
** Italian state-owned bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena is close to selling its Belgian unit to private equity firm Warburg Pincus in a 50 million euro ($57 million) deal, a source familiar with the matter said.
** A consortium including British billionaire John Whittaker and Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management is considering a bid for Intu Properties, the 2 billion-pound ($2.6 billion) shopping centre owner.
** Thyssenkrupp will keep a stake of around 30 percent in the capital goods business it plans to spin off, a labour representative at the German conglomerate said, paving the way for an eventual takeover bid once it decides to sell out.