May 14, 2018 / 8:42 AM / 13 days ago

Oil weighs on Britain's FTSE, IWG surges on possible bidding war

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* FTSE 100 down 0.1 pct

* IWG jumps on potential bidding war

* BP, Royal Dutch shell edge down

By Julien Ponthus

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) - UK shares traded slightly lower on Monday as oil prices falling from multi-year highs weighed and a potential bidding war for IWG triggered a surge in the serviced office provider’s stock, the latest deal in a flurry of mergers and acquisitions.

The index of leading UK stocks was down about 0.1 percent by 0813 GMT, while the broader FTSE 250 that includes IWG, gained 0.1 percent.

Oil stocks were the worst-performing across Europe as crude prices fell due to a surge in U.S. drilling activity and resistance in Europe and Asia to U.S. sanctions against Iran.

FTSE heavyweights Royal Dutch Shell and BP lost about 0.6 percent and 0.1 percent respectively while a rising pound, which typically bites in the revenues of dollar-earning companies, also dragged the index down.

“This, alongside a half a percent dip from Brent Crude, is likely preventing the FTSE from gathering any steam”, said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at Spreadex, noting however that the British blue-chip benchmark was holding its ground at levels not seen since January.

The FTSE 100 recorded a seventh straight week of gains on Friday, its longest winning streak since June 2015, as investors began to warm to UK equities amid a wave of deals and takeovers.

Shares in IWG were up over 20 percent in early trading after it the workplace provider attracted takeover approaches from three rival suitors, potentially plunging the $3.1 billion company into a bidding war.

On Friday, ZPG, the owner of property websites Zoopla and PrimeLocation, surged 30.2 percent to a record high after U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake Management offered 490 pence per share for the company, valuing it at 2.2 billion pounds.

British Gas owner Centrica which reaffirmed its 2018 targets, citing higher energy demand from colder-than-usual weather, was up 0.8 percent.

TalkTalk Telecom Group was up 2.1 percent after a report saying it was working with Virgin Media on a deal to share the cost of new ultrafast broadband networks and dial up the pressure on BT Group. The latter was down 1.2 percent. (Julien Ponthus; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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