A logo of the Swiss mining company Xstrata is shown at the Headquarters in Zug
Xstrata is looking to sell a 20 percent stake in the Wandoan Coal project in Australia. REUTERS

Xstrata PLC (London: XTC), the largest exporter of thermal coal, moved closer to a $90 billion merger with commodity trader Glencore International PLC (London: GLEN) in the largest of three separate corporate acquisition efforts on Monday.

Zug, Switzerland-based Xstrata's board endorsed a deal with Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore despite shareholder opposition to proposed executive payouts of around 144 million pounds ($232 million) to retain employees.

Xstrata shareholders, which include BlackRock Inc. (NYSE:BLK), the world's largest asset manager, will vote on the merger in November, with the option of supporting both the merger and retention plan, supporting the merger and opposing the retention plan, or opposing both deals.

Glencore is offering 3.05 shares for each share of Xstrata, and Glencore's CEO Ivan Glasenberg would take over the combined company within six months of the merger's closing.

Xstrata's stock was up 2.5 percent to 981.41 pence at Monday's close. Glencore was down 0.13 percent to 342.67 pence.

Separately, manufacturing conglomerate the 3M Company (NYSE: MMM) is seeking to buy ceramics company Ceradyne Inc. (Nasdaq: CRDN) for $860 million in cash. The offer is $35 per share, a 43 percent premium on Costa Mesa, Calif.'s Ceradyne's Friday closing price of $24.43.

Two Harbours, Minn.-based 3M expects a five cents per share charge in the first 12 months following the transaction. Ceradyne will join 3M's energy and advanced materials division.

Ceradyne shares were up 43.14 percent to close at $34.97. 3M rose 0.94 percent to $93.29.

Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) is buying a 70 percent majority stake in the private natural gas equipment supplier Thomas Russell Co. for $525 million, the company announced Monday.

"Thomas Russell Co. is a terrific complement to our current business and is particularly well positioned to serve the growing market for processing shale gas, as well as gas from oil fields," said Andreas Kramvis, president and CEO of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies, in a statement.

Morris Township, N.J.-based Honeywell will have the option to buy the remaining 30 percent of Tulsa, Okla.-based Thomas Russell. The deal will close in the fourth quarter and Honeywell expects it to add to its 2013 earnings.

Shares of Honeywell were up 1.76 percent to $60.80 at Monday's close.