July 21, 2017 / 8:59 AM / 8 months ago

Vodafone leads Britain's FTSE higher, bid boosts mid cap Paysafe

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* FTSE 100 up 0.2 pct, mid caps flat

* Vodafone rises after Q1 update

* Miners, energy stocks lend support

* Paysafe rockets after private equity bid

By Kit Rees

LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) - UK shares rose on Friday, led by a rise in Vodafone’s shares and gains among commodity stocks as blue chips headed for their best week in two months.

Britain’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.2 percent at 7,501.64 points by 0843 GMT, outperforming European bourses which were flat to slightly lower as a stronger currency weighed. UK mid caps were flat in percentage terms.

Vodafone rose 1.4 percent to touch a one-month high after reporting better-than-expected 2.2-percent revenue growth for the first quarter, thanks to a strong performance in Italy and Spain.

“Vodafone has never been a growth play, it’s all about the dividend,” Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index, said.

“Whilst there’s nothing here to kick-start a higher quantum of growth in the medium-term, the efficiency programme and the cash generation plans look to have remained on track and that should mean that the company is in a position to carry out its plans to increase the dividend,” Odeluga added.

At the sector level, a rise in mining firms also helped support the blue chips, with Antofagasta and Anglo American, both up as the price of copper gained, while gains among oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell also helped.

Betting firm Paddy Power Betfair was among the biggest individual fallers, dropping 2 percent to a one-year low following a downgrade from Investec to “sell” from “buy”, citing a deterioration in the regulatory outlook for the UK and Australia.

“Shorter-term we see downside with tough comps given the Euros, consensus still absorbing punter-friendly sports results and the Draft acquisition as well as a worsening regulatory outlook,” analysts at Investec said in a note.

British mid caps offered some more dramatic moves, with shares in Paysafe rocketing around 8 percent after a consortium of Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners made a 2.86 billion pound ($3.72 billion) bid for the firm, the latest move in a spate of deal-making in the payments industry.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, shares in Acacia Mining dropped nearly 8 percent after the troubled gold miner said that it was aiming for the lower end of its full-year guidance after its first-half results were hit by Tanzania’s export ban.

Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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