Worldpay, M&A in focus as European shares consolidate

* STOXX 600 down 0.2 percent

* Worldpay soars after confirming approach

* Crude prices remove support for European shares

* Tech stocks fall after Nasdaq glitch

* Italy’s banking stocks hit 15-month high after Carige cash
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By Helen Reid

LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) – A spate of dealmaking news swept
European stocks on Tuesday, with Worldpay soaring on a bid
approach, helping to mitigate a downward pull caused by
retreating crude prices and tech stocks.

The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.2 percent by 0820
GMT, in line with a dip in Euro zone stocks and
blue-chips. Britain’s FTSE was also 0.2
percent lower.

On Monday, European shares had their strongest day since 24
April, when Emmanuel Macron won the first round of France’s
presidential election.

But tech stocks weighed on markets on Tuesday, after a
seeming glitch caused some big name Nasdaq stocks to appear as
if their prices had been slashed.

The closure of the U.S. market for the 4 July national
holiday also meant volumes were lower than usual.

“Today is a consolidation day after gains yesterday, as we
don’t have a U.S. market,” said Angelo Meda, head of equities at
Banor Capital.

Dealmaking was back with a vengeance as a key driver of
individual share moves.

Payments company Worldpay shares soared 21 percent
to a record high after it said it was approached for acquisition
by Vantiv and JPMorgan.

This came after Danish rival Nets said on Monday
it had received offers. Nets and another German rival Wirecard
rose more than 4 percent.

“This is one of the most intriguing sub-sectors in the
financials space,” said Meda.

“There are a lot of companies still, and we are probably
going to have only one or two big leaders in the payments

EDP was a top gainer, up 3.2 percent after Spain’s
Gas Natural approached the Portuguese utility for a $40
billion merger which would create Europe’s fourth biggest
utility by market capitalisation.

“There’s been no major cross-border activity for the last
five to six years, so this is one of the sectors where we expect
some to happen,” said Meda.

Gas Natural shares, meanwhile, fell 0.6 percent.

Shares in French rival EDF also dropped 3.8 percent
after HSBC downgraded the stock to “reduce”.

Clariant shares gained 3.9 percent after two
activist investors upped their stake in the Swiss chemicals firm
in opposition to a planned merger with U.S. firm Huntsman

Baader Helvea analysts said the move could make a counterbid
more likely.

And the prospect of suitors Bain and Cinven getting
regulatory approval for a renewed offer for Stada
sent the generic drugmaker’s shares up 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Italy’s FTSE MIB outperformed as banking stocks
rose 1 percent to a 15-month high after Carige
, the country’s ninth-biggest bank, approved measures
aimed at rebuilding its balance sheet, including a cash call of
up to 500 million euros ($568 million).

(Reporting by Helen Reid, Editing by Kit Rees and Raissa