European shares rise early, Astra surges on M&A talk

PARIS, April 22 Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:13am EDT

PARIS, April 22 (Reuters) - European shares rose in early trade on Tuesday, adding to last week's rally, with AstraZeneca's stock surging on merger and acquisition talk.

Shares in the UK drugmaker jumped 7.8 percent 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.

Swiss drugmaker Novartis also gained ground, up 2.5 percent after unveiling plans to transform its business by exchanging certain assets with GlaxoSmithKline and divesting its animal health business to Eli Lilly in deals worth billions of dollars. GlaxoSmithKline's shares were up 4.2 percent.

At 0709 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.5 percent at 1,335.88 points, adding to gains made last week. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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