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PARIS, April 22 (Reuters) - European stocks index futures rose early on Monday, with mergers and acquisitions (M&A) fever set to boost shares in the pharmaceutical sector.
Novartis will be in focus after the Swiss drugmaker said it will buy GlaxoSmithKline's oncology products for a $14.5 billion payment, and sell its vaccines business, excluding flu, to GSK for $7.1 billion plus royalties. In a separate transaction, Novartis said it had agreed to divest its animal health division to Eli Lilly for approximately $5.4 billion.
Shares in AstraZeneca will also be eyed after Britain's Sunday Times reported that U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has approached its British rival to propose a 60 billion pound ($101 billion) takeover.
On the earnings front, Philips reported a bigger-than-expected decline in quarterly operating profit as restructuring costs and unfavourable currency effects weighed on earnings.
At 0628 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.3-0.4 percent.
The market's gains on Monday could be limited, however, by simmering tensions in Ukraine.
An international agreement to avert wider conflict in Ukraine was faltering on Monday, with pro-Moscow separatist gunmen showing no sign of surrendering government buildings they have seized.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pad95v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/rav46v ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0629 GMT: > GLOBAL MARKETS-Weak China shares depress Asia, Ukraine eyed > Wall St advances; S&P, Nasdaq book fifth straight gain > Nikkei edges up; caution over earnings, Ukraine caps gains > FOREX-Dollar holds gains in quiet trade, yen limps after export data > Gold extends losses to 4th day as fund outflows hit sentiment > METALS-Nickel hits 14-mth peak on tight supply; copper falls > Brent holds near $110 on Ukraine, forecast US stockpile gain weighs
Britain's Sunday Times reported that U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has approached its British rival AstraZeneca to propose a 60 billion pound ($101 billion) takeover.
The Swiss drugmaker said it will buy Glaxo's oncology products for a $14.5 billion payment, and sell its vaccines business, excluding flu, to GSK for $7.1 billion plus royalties. In a separate transaction, Novartis said it had agreed to divest its animal health division to Eli Lilly for approximately $5.4 billion.
Philips reported a bigger-than-expected decline in quarterly operating profit as restructuring costs and unfavourable currency effects weighed on earnings.
UniCredit has received 16 expressions of interest in buying UniCredit Credit Management Bank (UCCMB), Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Sunday without citing sources. Blackstone, Fortress-Prelios, Lone Star and Pimco are in the running, Il Sole said, alongside a joint bid from Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and TPG Capital, another combined offer from Cerberus, Jupiter Asset Management and CVC Capital Partners, and individual bids from York Capital and Oaktree.
The lender said on Thursday it had successfully completed its capital increase for 1.5 billion euros ($2.1 billion), which was 99.14 percent subscribed.
The airline is in talks with several "sector heavyweights" about a takeover of its IT unit, Chief Financial Officer Simone Menne told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview published on Tuesday.
The bank's board approved on Friday a proposal to boost the size of a planned share sale to 5 billion euros to help cover any gaps a Europe-wide bank check might find in its finances.
Italy's Treasury may allow Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena more time to pay interest on a state bailout, to ensure the sum is paid in cash rather than in bank shares, Corriere della Sera reported on Saturday.
Fiat Chrysler has reached an agreement to start producing Jeep vehicles in China with partner Guangzhou Automobile Group Co, the companies said on Saturday, as Fiat tries to catch up with competitors in a fast-growing market.
The liquid crystal maker extended the offer period for its planned takeover of AZ Electronic Materials for a sixth time on Friday as it continues to seek Chinese antitrust approval.
The head of Vivendi's French telecom unit SFR, won by cable company Numericable in a fierce bidding war, said in comments published on Saturday it planned to partner with Britain's Vodafone in a network-sharing project.
France's oldest nuclear power plant, Fessenheim, was shut down on Saturday following an incident at the facility away from the reactor which did not pose any danger, operator EDF said.
EDF and electricity producer China Datang Corporation have signed a deal under which EDF takes a 49 percent stake in Datang International Fuzhou Power Generation Company Ltd. The venture is set to build and operate a coal-fired power plant with two units with an output of 1,000 MW each on the Fuzhou site in Jiangxi province in South-Eastern China.
Europe's largest hotel group Accor said on Thursday that difficulties in its core French market that held back first-quarter revenue growth would remain in the second quarter. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)