) -- After completing its $3.5 billion sale of Eagle Ford drilling and production assets to

Marathon Oil

(MRO) - Get Report

earlier in November,


(KKR) - Get Report

is reported by


to be considering a $7 billion takeover of privately held shale driller

Samson Investment

, upping previous bid rumors by $2 billion according to unnamed sources familiar with talks.

If rumors prove to be true, it would be KKR's biggest private equity deal since the financial crisis. The buyout would also be the largest private equity buyout of the year, according to data compiled by


, topping an October $6.3 billion takeover of

Kinetic Concepts


by a consortium led by Apax Partners.

For KKR, which became a Wall Street buyout legend in the 1980s for its $25 billion takeover of

RJR Nabisco

, it would be a further push to shale drilling. In particular. The deal puts the firm into the Bakken shale in North Dakota and Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania. Its previous Hilcorp investment focused on oil and gas shale in 141 acres of the Eagle Ford in East Texas.

In 2009, KKR cut its first shale deal, investing $350 million in

East Resources

to get a foothold in the Marcellus shale. Eleven months later, KKR sold the investment in shale assets stretching from New York to West Virginia for $4.7 billion to

Royal Dutch Shell


, making it one of its most lucrative post-crisis investments.



reports of Samson and KKR sale talks, the deal won't include its Gulf of Mexico operations. Itochu of Japan, Crestview Partners and NGP Energy Capital Management will join KKR in a Samson bid, according to separate reports from


, citing unnamed sources. KKR is expected to take a 60% holding in Samson, while Itochu set to take a 25% stake, the sources said.

Founded in 1971 by Charles Schusterman, privately held Samson is headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., and has 1,200 employees that manage its oil and gas operations, which require in excess of $1 billion in annual capital expenditure, according to its Web site. The company derives 70% of its revenue from gas drilling and 30% from oil liquids, and has spent $4 billion in oil and gas asset acquisitions in recent years.

A Samson takeover would signal that the shale oil and gas M&A boom still has legs. This year, Australian energy and commodities giant


(BHP) - Get Report

bought Petrohawk Energy for $12.1 billion and more recently Norway's


took over of

Brigham Exploration


for $4.4 billion.

The Guardian Media Group

may sell PaidContent for up to $20 million, allowing the British newspaper founded in 1907 as the

Manchester Guardian

to recoup its initial investment according to reports from


The newspaper headquartered in Manchester, England that sells

The Guardian


The Observer

daily newspapers along with Web and radio businesses, has hired a boutique investment bank

Coady Diemar Partners

to sell PaidContent. The unit serves as one of

The Guardian's

online media hubs covering trends in the digital media businesses. Guardian Media Group bought the digital journalism Web site that goes by the motto "the economics of digital content" in 2008 for $30 million according to



The sale rumors of the website property founded in 2002 with its flagship, come as

The Guardian

is cutting costs in a move to improve its finances and build U.S. operations with the opening of a New York -based Web site.

"Following a strategic review Guardian News & Media has decided to seek a buyer for ContentNext Media. ContentNext is a high-quality asset but our focus in the US is on building the Guardian. It's early days but we have received several expressions of interest and are talking to a select number of potential buyers," the company said according to an email statement obtained by




Tokyo Stock Exchange

the largest equity exchange in Japan said on Tuesday it will merge with the

Osaka Securities Exchange

for $1.1 billion, creating the third largest stock exchange in the world.


NYSE Euronext



Nasdaq OMX


are the world's largest exchanges, ahead of the $3.6 trillion in stock traded on the now merged Asian exchanges, according to



The deal appears to be a way to keep pace with a trend of consolidations among exchanges in 2011. Earlier this year, NYSE Euronext cut a $9 billion merger with Deutsche Boerse, which is pending regulatory review and this September, the

London Stock Exchange

announced a bid for derivatives platform



In the 1980s, the Tokyo Stock Exchange dominated global equity trading as an asset bubble pushed equity prices to unsustainable levels, which have since fallen by 75%. While the exchange merger might boost Japan's competitiveness against U.S., European and Chinese stock trading, there are potential issues.

A proposed $3.2 billion merger between the London Stock Exchange and the

Toronto Stock Exchange

fell apart this Summer on regulatory concerns, and a larger NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Boerse merger has undergone intense regulatory review by the

European Commission



Written by Antoine Gara in New York