MILAN European shares were marginally lower on Wednesday but stayed close to their highest in more than 11 months as merger and acquisition activity continued to prop up the market.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.04 percent by 0820 GMT after ending the previous session at its highest level since Jan. 4 - the first trading day of the year.
Mediaset (MS.MI) was the biggest gainer in Europe, up more than 8 percent to a 16-month high as it extended a rally after France's Vivendi (VIV.PA) said it raised its stake in the Italian broadcaster to above 25 percent.
Actelion (ATLN.S) also rose, up 3 percent, after sources told Reuters late on Tuesday that Sanofi's (SASY.PA) takeover talks with the Swiss drugmaker were progressing. Shares in Actelion fell in the previous session on worries a deal would not materialise soon.
The Oil and Gas index .SXEP fell 0.5 percent, making it the biggest sectoral faller in early deals, weighed down by losses among heavyweights Total and Royal Dutch Shell.
(Reporting by Danilo Masoni)