(Adds futures, news)
LONDON, April 28 Britain's FTSE 100
index is seen opening higher on Monday, with June futures on the
index up 0.5 percent by 0641 GMT. For more on the
factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index slipped on Friday from its
seven-week closing high the day before, ending down 17.31
points, or 0.3 percent, at 6,685.69 points, knocked back by
concerns surrounding the situation in Ukraine.
* The United States and Europe are preparing new sanctions
against Russia as tensions escalated in eastern Ukraine.
Pro-Russian rebels paraded European monitors they are holding on
Sunday, freeing one but saying they had no plans to release
* It is a quiet day in terms of scheduled corporate news,
with no UK blue chips set to report results.
* RECKITT BENCKISER : Merck & Co Inc is in the
final stages of selling its consumer healthcare unit for close
to $14 billion, with Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc and Bayer AG
among final contenders to clinch a deal as soon as
next week, people familiar with the matter said.
* ASTRAZENECA : U.S. drugmaker Pfizer
confirmed on Monday it made a bid approach to AstraZeneca in
January and had contacted its British rival again on April 26
seeking to renew discussions about a takeover.
A Pfizer bid for AstraZeneca would be one of the largest
ever pharmaceuticals deals. The renewed approach comes amid a
wave of M&A in the sector.
* BG GROUP : The chief executive of UK oil and gas
group BG Group, Chris Finlayson, has resigned with immediate
effect for personal reasons, the company said.
* BHP BILLITON : Mining veteran and former Xstrata
head Mick Davis has offered to buy BHP Billiton's thermal coal
division, which could form the core of his X2 Resources, the
Sunday Times said.
* PREMIER OIL, Ophir Energy : London-listed
oil and gas explorer Ophir Energy said it was no longer
interested in making a takeover offer for rival Premier Oil
after a proposal was rejected by the Premier Oil board.
* BSKYB : BSkyB is preparing a major overhaul of its
set-top box technology to address the threat to its subscription
business from internet-based television services from American
giants such as Amazon, Apple and Google
, the Telegraph reported.
* WM MORRISON : The grocer is facing a 160 million
pound ($267 million) hit from its botched takeover of Kiddicare,
the babycare retailer, the Sunday Times said.
Separately, A former director at Morrisons who served under
Ken Morrison has warned the grocery retailer is a "supertanker
heading towards an iceberg" and called for management to step
aside, the Telegraph reported.
* ENERGY SUPPLIERS: Britain's biggest energy suppliers could
pocket a 2 billion pound windfall over the next three years
after the government miscalculated a deal to cut green levies,
new research claims, the Telegraph reported.
* RANDGOLD RESOURCES : Gold production from Randgold
Resources's Tongon mine in northern Ivory Coast will hit 260,000
ounces this year, up from 233,591 ounces in 2013, the company
* Britain's housing market recovery spread further beyond
London this month as prices rose in more parts of England and
Wales outside the capital than at any time over the last decade,
a survey showed.
TODAY'S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines
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($1 = 0.5948 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Tricia Wright)