December 15, 2011, 7:13 PM UTC

Covidien PLC (NYSE: COV) announced plans to spin off its pharmaceuticals business into a standalone public company. The unit currently generates around $2 billion in annual sales, two-thirds of which comes from the U.S. market. www.covidien.com

Fujifilm Holdings Corp. of Japan has agreed to acquire SonoSite Inc. (Nasdaq: SONO) for around $753 million in cash, or $53 per share (28% premium to yesterday’s closing price). The deal also includes around $242 million in assumed debt. SonoSite is a Bothell, Wash.-based maker of hand-carried and mountable ultrasound equipment. www.sonosight.com

Lam Research Corp. (Nasdaq: LRCX) agreed to acquire Novellus Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: NVLS), a rival maker of wafer fabrication equipment, for $3.3 billion in stock. The deal represents a 28% premium to yesterday’s closing price. www.novellus.com

Live National Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) has acquired BigChampagne, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based market research company focused on online entertainment consumption. No financial terms were disclosed. www.bigchampagne.com

Old Mutual, a British insurance company, has agreed to sell Skandia Insurance Co. to Sweden’sSkandia Liv for approximately $3.2 billion.

SAY Media, a digital publishing company, has acquired technology blog ReadWriteWeb for an undisclosed amount. SAY Media was formed last year through the merger of VideoEgg and Six Apart. Its shareholders include August Capital, First Round Capital, Focus Ventures and Maveron.www.saymedia.com

Westway Group Inc. (Nasdaq: WWAY) said it has received an unsolicited offer for its agricultural feed business and some storage terminals from its largest outside shareholder, commodities trading firmED&F Man. Westway said it feels the offer is too low, but that it will explore strategic alternatives.www.westway.com

The Weir Group (LSE: WEIR) has acquired Seaboard Holdings Inc. from Industrial Growth Partners for $675 million. Seaboard is a Houston-based maker of wellhead and pressure control equipment to the oil and natural gas markets. It was advised on the deal by Harris Williams & Co. www.weir.co.uk

Zipcar Inc. (Nasdaq: ZIP) has exercised its option to acquire a 60% stake in Barcelona-based car-sharing service Avancar. No financial terms were disclosed. Zipcar had made an initial equity investment in late 2009. www.zipcar.com

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