* FTSEurofirst 300 up 1.6 pct in afternoon trade
* France’s CAC, Italy’s MIB, Spain’s IBEX hit multi-year highs
* Euro zone manufacturing data boosts sentiment
By Francesco Canepa and Blaise Robinson
LONDON/PARIS, April 7 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Tuesday as FedEx’s 4.4 billion euro ($4.8 billion) bid for Dutch package delivery firm TNT Express prompted a rally in the shares of other postal companies.
The mood was further brightened by data showing manufacturing activity across the euro zone accelerated faster than previously thought last month, adding to signs the bloc’s economy is recovering.
TNT stock jumped 28.9 percent, while PostNL -- TNT’s largest shareholder -- surged 12.7 percent. PostNL has said it would sell its 14.7 percent stake to FedEx.
Royal Mail, Deutsche Post and Kuehne & Nagel gained 1.4-2.5 percent.
“The price seems fair based on our EVA (economic value added) acquisition model,” analysts at ING wrote in a note, adding the deal could allow PostNL to pay a dividend in 2016.
Further evidence of corporate takeover activity came from French media group Vivendi’s offer to buy Orange’s video-sharing website Dailymotion The two stocks gained 1.2 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.
At 1513 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 1.6 percent at 1,611.83 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 0.9-1.6 percent, all hitting fresh multi-year highs.
Greek shares 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 Athex index was 0.7 percent higher.
Bucking the trend, flag-carrying airlines, known by some analysts as “legacies”, Air France, IAG and Air France-KLM fell between 1.3 percent and 2.7 percent after downgrades by JP Morgan.
“We are realigning our European Airline ratings with a clear bias towards LCCs (low-cost carriers), which we believe offer superior risk/reward and continued growth potential while Legacies remain exposed to unrelenting Middle Eastern competition and suffer from stagnating margins,” 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 (Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Keith Weir)