April 3 (Reuters) - The following corporate finance-related stories were reported by media on Wednesday:
* Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc is emerging as the lead contender in an auction for Life Technologies Corp , a genetic testing maker with a market value of more than $11 billion, three people familiar with the matter said this week.
* At least three of the world's top drugmakers, Pfizer Inc , Novartis AG and Abbott Laboratories, are bidding for Brazil's Ache Laboratorios Farmaceuticos in an auction that may value the group at more than $5 billion, people familiar with the matter said.
* Rio Tinto is seeking a buyer for controlling stakes in two Australian coal mines, the latest $1 billion-plus asset sale targeted by the mining company as it looks to cut costs and boost shareholder returns, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. ()
* The findings of an investigation into the 2008 failure of HBOS Plc, due to be published by the UK Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, will reveal a failed bank with poor governance and weak credit risk controls, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the report who said the total cost of bailing out the bank rose to close to 30 billion pounds ($45.4 billion). ()
* Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc is preparing to appoint Finance Director Bruce van Saun as head of its U.S. arm Citizens ahead of its stock market listing, a person familiar with the matter said.
* Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic is preparing to hold detailed talks about a joint venture with Air France KLM SA and Alitalia that would allow the UK airline to offer more flights to Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the Financial Times reported. ()
* China National Petroleum Corp and Malaysia's Petronas are considering bids for Marathon Oil Corp's stakes in two Angolan offshore oil and gas fields, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
* Banco do Brasil SA is on the lookout for takeover targets in the United States to provide more banking services to a growing Brazilian community in the world's No. 1 economy, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.
* Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Financial and New York-based Reich & Tang Asset Management LLC are buying UnionBanCal Corp's mutual fund business, three sources told Reuters on Tuesday.