Sky takeover offer helps FTSE 100 end week in positive territory
Sky shares shot to the top of the FTSE 100, rising nearly 27% on news that 21st Century Fox has tabled a takeover offer that values the UK broadcaster at £25.3 billion.
It helped the FTSE 100 close in positive territory, rising 0.3% - or 22.66 points - to 6,954.21.
Sterling was relatively flat against the dollar at 1.257, and up 0.7% against the euro at 1.193.
Sky shares surged after the company announced that one of its largest shareholders was making a bid for the entire company at £10.75 per share.
US media giant 21st Century Fox already owns 39% of Sky shares, but is offering to buy the remaining 61%.
Sky's FTSE 100-listed shares closed higher by 26.7%, or 210.5p, at 1,000p.
Investors were also digesting fresh UK economic data, including construction and trade figures.
Britain's trade gap narrowed to a better-than-expected £9.7 billion in October after exports soared to a record monthly high. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that exports rose £2.1 billion to £26.8 billion while imports dropped £2 billion to £36.5 billion.
It helped soften the blow of construction industry activity, which took a hit in October due to a fall in infrastructure work and a slowdown in repair and maintenance activity.
The ONS said construction output fell 0.6% month-on-month, compared with economist estimates of a 0.3% rise.
Across Europe, the French Cac 40 and German Dax closed higher, up 0.6% and 0.2%, respectively.
Italy's FTSE MIB closed 0.7% lower, as shares in troubled Italian lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) plunged 10.6% following reports that the bank's request for more time to raise new capital from investors has been rejected by regulators.
In oil markets, Brent crude prices rose 0.2% to 54.08 US dollars (£42.99) per barrel, buoyed by optimism that non-Opec producers would agree to join Opec's deal to cut output when representatives meet in Vienna over the weekend.
In the UK, Fyffes shares rose 57p to 186p on news that the Irish fruit giant will be acquired by Japan's Sumitomo Corporation in a deal which values the firm at 751.37 million euro (£637.9 million).
Sumitomo will pay 2.23 euro (£1.89) in cash for each Fyffes share, a premium of 49% of the firm's closing share price on Thursday.
Shares in infrastructure investment firm John Laing Group rose 2.4p to 276.7p after saying that investment activity remained strong in each of the three geographical regions it operates in - Asia Pacific, North America and Europe, including the UK.
Total investment commitments to date stood at £181 million, in line with guidance for 2016.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Sky up 210.5p at 1,000p, ITV up 10p to 191.5p, Mediclinic International up 32.5p at 737p, and AstraZeneca up 164p at 4,280p.
The biggest fallers were Provident Financial down 103p to 2,726p, Anglo American down 31p to 1,214p, Barclays down 5.9p at 233.1p, Rio Tinto down 70.5p at 3,233.5p.