Dec 15 Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening down
about 13 points, or 0.19 percent lower on Thursday, according to financial
* The UK blue chip index closed down 19.38 points, or 0.3 percent, at
6,949.19 points on Wednesday, dropping back from its highest close since
October, pulled lower partly by Dixons Carphone.
* LSE GROUP/DEUTSCHE BOERSE: The European Commission continues to have
concerns about the planned merger of Deutsche Boerse and London Stock
Exchange Group (LSE), but to a lesser extent than three months ago, the
stock market operators said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
* SKY/TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY FOX: Twenty-First Century Fox Inc is
expected on Thursday to make a formal offer to buy Sky Plc in an 18.5
billion pounds ($23.17 billion) takeover, the Times reported. bit.ly/2hH1dO7
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged Britain to delay Rupert Murdoch's
proposed deal to buy European pay-TV group Sky until the government completes an
inquiry into a phone hacking scandal, the Guardian said on Wednesday.
* HASTINGS: South Africa's Rand Merchant Investment Holdings ramped
up its presence in the British insurance market on Wednesday with the purchase
of a 30 percent stake in Hastings, driving the UK firm's shares to
2-1/2 month highs.
* PUNCH TAVERNS/HEINEKEN: Dutch brewer Heineken and an investment
partner are in advanced takeover talks with Punch Taverns, Punch said on
Wednesday, but face competition from a higher rival bid from one of the British
pub company's founders.
* SHELL: Japanese oil refiners Idemitsu Kosan and Showa Shell
Sekiyu, Royal Dutch Shell's Japanese venture, have effectively
given up on a stop-gap plan to form capital ties that was being considered as a
way to get around opposition from the Idemitsu family to a full merger, the
Mainichi newspaper reported.
* ROS AGRO: Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co is set to acquire
equity stakes in Russian agriculture firm Ros Agro and Moscow
drugmaker R-Pharm as Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Japan this week,
Nikkei business daily said on Thursday.
* SPORTS DIRECT: Multiple suitors are weighing bids to challenge the $575
million offer for Performance Sports Group Ltd made by a financial consortium in
the bankruptcy court auction of the Bauer hockey gear maker, according to two
people familiar with the matter. British retailer Sports Direct International
Plc has submitted a letter of interest, the people said.
* EX-DIVS: AB Foods, Polymetal International and United
Utilities will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out
on Thursday, trimming 0.84 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters
* UK REFERENDUM: Prime Minister Theresa May will update Britain's partners
in Brussels on Thursday on her plans to launch talks by March on quitting the
EU, and they will settle their arrangements for the negotiations.
* BREXIT: Britain must negotiate a Brexit bridging deal to avoid a "cliff
edge" that forces banks to move jobs before they know what the new trading
relations with the European Union will be, British lawmakers said on Thursday.
* BREXIT PRICES: Danish toymaker Lego is set to raise prices of its products
in Britain by 5 percent in 2017, becoming the latest manufacturing company to
respond to the sharp decline in the value of the pound since Britain voted to
leave the European Union, the Guardian reported. bit.ly/2hGUync
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
* UK CORPORATE DIARY:
Bunzl PLC Pre-Close Trading Statement
Go-Ahead Group PLC PLC Trading Update
Summit Therapeutics PLC Q3 & 9M 2017 Earnings Release
Petrofac Ltd Trading Update
Centrica PLC Trading Update Release
PZ Cussons PLC Trading Update
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
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(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)