LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stock indices rose, with the biggest gains in southern Europe, amid renewed optimism that Greece, its international creditors and eurozone leaders will agree on a solution to the country's debt crisis.
Under pressure from other eurozone countries, Greece plans to seek an extension of up to six months to the existing bailout package, according to numerous media reports.
The Athens Stock Exchange General Index gained 1.86%.
The FTSE MIB in Milan was up 1.35%, and in Madrid the Ibex 35 gained 1.2%. In Frankfurt, the DAX was up 0.56% at 10,956.26. In Paris, the CAC 40 gained 0.87% to 4,795.51.
In London, the FTSE 100 edged up 0.11% to 6,903.55.
Bank of England minutes showed all nine policymakers voted to leave rates unchanged at 0.5% at the last meeting.
Federal Reserve rate setters will publish minutes of their Jan. 27 to Jan. 28 meeting after European markets close.
In Paris, Vivendi (VIVHY) rose after it said it had received an offer worth €3.9 billion ($4.5 billion), or a discounted €40 per share, from Altice (ATCEY) and affiliate Numericable-SFR (NUMCF) for the 20% stake in Numericable-SFR that Vivendi received when it sold Numericable its SFR wireless services provider. Altice would buy half the stake and Numericable-SFR would buy back the other half. Vivendi said it will consider the offer.
Numericable-SFR rose well over 3%.
Crédit Agricole (CRARY) was up more than 4% after posting a 13% increase in fourth-quarter net profit.
Oil field services company Technip (TKPPY) gained close to 3% on above-forecast fourth-quarter results as it lifted its dividend by 8% and reaffirmed 2015 guidance of rising earnings and revenue even as oil prices slump.
In Copenhagen, brewer Carlsberg A/S (CABGY) declined more than 2% after undershooting profit forecasts in its fourth quarter, in part because of the declining ruble.
The brewer named Cees 't Hart, CEO of Dutch dairy company Royal FrieslandCampina, to replace Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen as CEO in June.
In Sydney, Toll Holdings (THKUY) closed up 47% after Japan Post Holdings agreed to pay A$6.5 billion ($5.1 billion) for the company.
In Tokyo, shipping company Kintetsu World Express extended yesterday's losses to close down 3.8% after a late Tuesday announcement that it will pay $1.2 billion for Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines's (NPTOY) logistics business. The stock had dropped 4.6% following a press report about the deal on Tuesday.
Sony (SNE) - Get Report closed up 1.6% and looks likely to rise further tomorrow, after it forecast a huge jump in fiscal 2017 earnings thanks to its games, entertainment and sensor businesses after the closing of trading.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed up 1.18% at 18,199.17.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gained 0.19% to close at 24,832.08 before a two-day holiday to mark the Chinese New Year.