* Pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ends 0.5 pct higher
* Altice surges 11.6 pct on Suddenlink bid, Vodafone also gains
* UBS gets lift after forex probe settlement, fine
* Burberry shares slide on profit guidance cut
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) - European shares edged higher on Wednesday, extending the previous session’s gains, with the telecoms sector getting a big lift from deal-making and takeover talk.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.5 percent higher at 1,613.60 points, adding to gains on Tuesday following speculation the European Central Bank could step up its bond-buying programme.
French telecoms group Altice surged 11.6 percent after it agreed to buy Suddenlink in a $9.1 billion deal to enter the fast-growing U.S. cable sector. Altice’s French rivals Orange and Bouygues fell by around 1.5 percent.
“The whole of U.S. cable is a turnaround story. (Altice‘s) USP is doing turnarounds with leverage. Not without risk, but the value potential is very high,” Gary Paulin, founding Partner of Aviate Global, said.
“As long as the team can execute, shareholders are going to see a lot of value creation over time.”
Credit Suisse also said in a note that it believed there was room for Altice to run assets in new markets better and thereby create value through merger and acquisition.
Vodafone rose 5.4 percent after Liberty Global’s chairman was quoted as saying it would be a “great fit”.
Financials were also in focus. Switzerland’s UBS gained 3.2 percent after saying it had settled a probe by U.S. authorities over alleged rigging of currency markets by agreeing to pay $545 million in combined fines and pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud in a separate matter.
The Swiss bank’s disclosure comes as part of what is expected to be a combined bill of more than $5 billion and criminal charges for five of the world’s biggest banks in a settlement with U.S. and British authorities over the foreign exchange probe.
Luxury goods group Burberry fell 5 percent after it lowered its 2015/16 retail and wholesale profit guidance due to foreign exchange movements and said it was seeing increased uncertainty in some markets, taking the shine off forecast-beating results.
Greek shares fell 0.7 percent, reversing early gains, after Moody’s said the outlook for Greece’s banking system was negative and a senior ruling party lawmaker said Greece would not be able to make a payment to the International Monetary Fund on June 5 unless foreign lenders disburse more aid.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up
Additional reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky/John Stonestreet/Susan Fenton