* FTSEurofirst 300 up 1 pct in early trade
* France’s CAC, Italy’s MIB, Spain’s IBEX hit multi-year highs
* Euro zone manufacturing data boosts sentiment
By Blaise Robinson and Sudip Kar-Gupta
PARIS/LONDON, April 7 (Reuters) - European shares rose in early trading on Tuesday, as FedEx’s 4.4 billion euro ($4.8 billion) bid for Dutch package delivery firm TNT Express sparked a rally in the shares of other courier companies.
TNT stock jumped 31 percent, while PostNL - TNT’s largest shareholder, which has said it would tender its 14.7 percent stake to the FedEx offer - surged 13 percent, while Royal Mail, Deutsche Post and Kuehne & Nagel gained 1.4-1.7 percent.
Signs that corporate takeover activity was on the rise were also highlighted by French media group Vivendi’s offer to buy Orange’s video-sharing website Dailymotion, with the two stocks gaining 1.1 percent and 0.8 percent respectively.
Greek shares also rose as investors welcomed a move over the weekend by Athens’ government to calm concerns that the country might default on a loan. Greece’s benchmark Athex General Composite Share Index (ATG) rose 1.5 percent while the Greek banking index advanced 2.7 percent.
On Sunday, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Athens “intends to meet all obligations to all its creditors, ad infinitum,” seeking to quell default fears ahead of a big loan payment Athens owes the IMF later this week.
Greece has not received bailout funds since August last year and has resorted to measures such as borrowing from state entities to tide it over. It offered a new package of reforms last week in the hope of unlocking funds but has yet to win agreement on the proposals with its EU and IMF lenders.
Athens is also on the hook for a roughly 450 million euro ($492 million) loan repayment to the IMF due this Thursday.
At 0806 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 1 percent at 1,602.37 points, tracking a rally on Wall Street after Friday’s surprisingly weak U.S. jobs data sparked expectations the Federal Reserve could hold off longer on raising interest rates.
“The disappointment on the U.S. jobs figures is prompting investors to rethink the scenario of a first rate hike in June, which is good news for the market,” Barclays France portfolio manager Philippe Cohen said.
“Now the focus is about to shift to the U.S. earnings season.”
France’s CAC 40, Spain’s IBEX and Italy’s MIB were up 0.8-1.1 percent, all hitting fresh multi-year highs.
Also boosting the mood on Tuesday, data showed manufacturing activity across the euro zone accelerated faster than previously thought last month, adding to signs the bloc’s economy is recovering.
Bucking the trend, Air France fell 0.9 percent after JPMorgan analysts downgraded their recommendation on the stock to ‘underweight’ from ‘overweight’.
“Though 2016 benefits from some capacity and potential fuel relief, we expect revenue trends to continue stagnating in light of robust short and long-haul competition,” the analysts wrote in a note.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Hugh Lawson)