LONDON ( The Deal) -- European stocks rose on Wednesday, taking the baton from Asia, amid a flow of predominantly positive earnings reports and a hive of corporate activity including the possible mega-merger of brewing market leader Anheuser-Busch InBev  (BUD) with No. 2 SABMiller (SBMRY).

In the eurozone, the European Commission's statistics arm revised down the August eurozone inflation rate to 0.1% from an earlier estimate of 0.2%.

U.S. consumer price data for August is also out Wednesday and is likely to put inflation at 1.9%, edging up from 1.8% a month earlier. A higher reading may alarm investors ahead of the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision on Thursday.

By late morning in London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.83% at 6,188.49. In Frankfurt, the DAX gained 0.54% to 10,242.77, and in Paris the CAC 40 jumped 1.16% to 4,622.36.

SABMiller said it's expecting an offer from AB InBev but doesn't have information on the terms yet. Based on current market values the merged entity would be worth almost $270 billion but the companies would likely have to make widespread disposals to get any deal past regulators. SABMiller was up by more than 20%, while in Brussels AB InBev gained almost 4%.

Outsourced services provider Serco Group (SECCY), which is restyling itself as a B2G -- or business-to-government -- company rose in London as it sold its offshore business process outsourcing business to Blackstone Group for £250 million ($385 million). The sale is one of the most significant of a string of disposals announced by Serco CEO Rupert Soames in March.

Glencore edged higher as it completed the sale of just over 1.3 billion of new shares, equivalent to 9.9% of the pre-offering share capital, to raise £1.6 billion. It sold the shares at 125 pence, a 2.4% discount to Tuesday's closing price. Directors including CEO Ivan Glasenberg took 22%, while 78% of the offering went in an accelerated book build.

JD Sports Fashion was up sharply in London after analysts including Investec Bank and Peel Hunt LLP upgraded their forecasts after a strong set of first-half results featuring a surprise leap in operating margins and news that same-store sales growth is above 10% in all geographical markets.

Entertainment One rose almost 8% after Canada Pension Plan Investment Board bought Marwyn Value Investors' 18% stake in the company behind the Peppa Pig cartoon character.

Spain's Industria de Diseño Textil SA, better known as Inditex, was up well over 3% in Madrid after the Zara fashion chain owner said first-half profit rose 26%, ahead of some expectations. Its closest European rival, Hennes & Mauritz, had on Tuesday posted a disappointing sales bulletin.

Cable investor Altice rose in Amsterdam after agreeing to sell two Portuguese cable operations to Apax Partners of France to meet antitrust conditions for a wider takeover.

Adidas gained ground in Frankfurt after announcing it will become official outfitter for the U.S. National Hockey League in a seven-year partnership. 

Beleaguered utility E.ON SE fell in Frankfurt after CFO Michael Sen told the Boersen-Zeitung that further cost and job cuts may be needed if the political environment deteriorates. E.ON announced last week that it will take a high-single-digit billion-euro writedown this year because of declining electricity and fuel prices.

And rival RWE plunged more than 5% as investors continued to worry about both utilities' liabilities for nuclear decommissioning costs. (Germany is phasing out atomic energy by 2021).

In Zurich, Cie. Financiere Richemont surged almost 7% after announcing 4% growth in five-month sales, ahead of most expectations.

In Milan, Telecom Italia gained ground, as did Vivendi in Paris, after Le Figaro reported that the French company may buy an additional 5% of the Italian telecom. Vivendi already owns 15.5%.

Berlusconi family-backed Mediaset rose in Milan after announcing a new deal to expand further into radio. It has bought a 19% stake in RB1 SpA, which controls 92.8% of radio station operator Finelco Group along with its founders. 

Asian shares drew inspiration from a rise in U.S. stocks to end the day predominantly in the green.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed up 0.81% at 18,171.60 and the Topix rose 0.71% to 1,472.60. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng clambered up 2.38% to 21,966.32.

On mainland China, the Shanghai Composite jumped 4.89% to 3,152.26.

 

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