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Europe: Shares steady, Ahold and Delhaize rise sharply
[LONDON] European shares held steady on Wednesday, with supermarket groups Ahold and Delhaize advancing after media reports suggesting merger talks between the two could come to a successful conclusion as early as June.
Shares in Ahold and Delhaize rose 2.6 per cent and 5.1 per cent respectively. The two companies are in talks to create a top 20 global retailer with a major presence in the United States. A deal would see a combined retailer worth around 23 billion euros.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was little changed at 1,572.00 points by 0724 GMT after falling in the previous session.
Investors will also focus on Greece's debt talks and a policy meeting of the European Central Bank later in the day.
Greece's creditors on Tuesday drafted the broad lines of an agreement to put to the leftist government in Athens in a bid to conclude four months of acrimonious negotiations and release aid before the cash-strapped country runs out of money.