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    As part of the French electoral game, candidates always seal some sort of alliance -- often secretly -- between the two rounds of the Presidential election. But this time the deals are made openly, and even before the first round, which reinforces the feeling that this election may have something special.

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    Since this morning, Sarkozy and Royal are neck-and-neck again in the race for the French presidency, both credited with 50% of the votes at the second round of the election, according to a CSA opinion poll.

  • Dutch brewer Heineken said on Tuesday it expected to be fined by the European Commission on Wednesday for violating competition laws.

  • Eurostar, the passenger train service linking London and mainland Europe, set a target on Tuesday to cut CO2 emissions by 25% per passenger by 2012.

  • The European banking sector saw momentum on the back of the potential takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro. A consortium of Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Fortis could potentially outbid the current bid from British bank Barclays.

  • Euro-zone inflation rose to 1.9% for March, the European Union's statistics agency said Monday.

  • Dutch bank ABN AMRO does not plan to open its books to a trio of its European rivals who may gate-crash ABN's $85-billion-plus takeover talks with Barclays, and the consortium's interest could speed up Barclays' courtship process.

  • Speculation is growing that Britain's Barclays may abandon its bid for the Dutch bank ABN Amro, CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo reported. Barclays is due to finalize its bid for ABN next week, Bartiromo said, "but sources tell me there is a chance Barclays will pull out" because of "past liability concerns over past money-laundering questions."

  • Finland's annual inflation rate surged to 2.6 percent in March, the highest figure in almost six years, the government statistics agency said Friday.

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    The European Central Bank kept short-term interest rates on hold Thursday as expected, but economists and investors think that another rate rise is due this summer.

  • Nestle, the world's largest food company, will buy U.S. baby-food giant Gerber from NovartisAG for $5.5 billion in cash, becoming the world's biggest baby food company.

  • Nordic bourse operator andtechnology firm OMX said on Thursday it was in cooperation talks with several exchanges, but added it had not received any bid.

  • Global brewing giant SABMiller said on Thursday its annual worldwide underlying beer volumes rose 10%, and said its financial performance was in line with its own expectations.

  • A top DaimlerChrysler executive is scheduled to meet in New York this week with bidders for the German auto maker's Chrysler unit but it appears that billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda isn't among those on the invitation list, The Wall Street Journal reported.

  • Shares in German sportswear maker Puma rose after French luxury-to-retail giant PPR (up 2.61%) made a 5.3 billion euro ($7.1 billion) takeover bid for the company.

  • Shares in Air France-KLM increased on Friday after Deutsche Bank upgraded the stock to “buy” from “hold”.

  • Dutch food retailer Ahold is looking to buy the Dutch-based retail franchise Hema, recently put up for sales, possibly for more than 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion), a newspaper reported on Thursday.

  • John Thain, chief executive officer of the New York Stock Exchange, told CNBC’s “Closing Bell” that different listing standards in the United States and Europe create an opportunity – not a barrier – for Euronext.

  • The newly merged transatlantic exchange operator NYSE Euronext made its debut in Paris when it started trading as a combined company on Wednesday.

  • Shares in the world’s largest utility E.ON increased considerably after it gave up its 42 billion euro bid ($56 billion) for Spanish utility company Endesa (down 0.69%), agreeing to split it up with rivals.