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European shares closed higher for a third day running.

After spending time on both sides of the flatline, London stocks headed into the green after

The New York Times

reported that




Vodafone AirTouch's

(VOD) - Get Vodafone Group Plc Report

bid. Vodafone, which had been as low as 339.50 pence in intraday trade, recovered to close at 368.50.

In other news,



and the Netherlands'


(ENT) - Get Global Eagle Entertainment Incorporated Report

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, the world's largest telecommunications network for voice, Internet and data, said that they have formed a new joint venture company which will offer the world's largest secure Internet Protocol network to the financial services industry. Reuters added 80 pence, or 8.3%, on the news to close at 10.46 pounds.



ended up 21.5 at 6324.3.

Over on the continent, an unexpected rate hike from the

European Central Bank

did nothing to deter interest in shares. Frankfurt's

Xetra Dax

ended up 182.31, or 2.5%, higher at 7354.26.

The big winner there was

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Dynatrace, Inc. Report

, which added 9.64 euros, or 13%, to 83.64. Now that DT's main competitor, Mannesmann, is out of the way, investors suspect that it will start doing deals.



ended up 202.81, or 3.4%, to 6149.67. Telecom and telecom equipment stocks led the way -- investors reckon the Reuters/Equant deal will mean fresh business for them.