TOKYO, March 6 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average rose to a fresh 15-year high on Friday as encouraging comments from the European Central Bank lifted sentiment, but FamilyMart Co fell on news that it was in merger talks with UNY Group Holdings Co.

The Nikkei ended 1.2 percent higher at 18,971.00 points, its best closing level since April 2000. For the week, it rose 0.9 percent and posted a fourth consecutive week of gains.

The broader Topix rose 1.1 percent to 1,540.84 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 1.2 percent to 14,008.74.

FamilyMart dropped 2.2 percent, while UNY soared 11 percent on news that they were considering a merger that would create Japan’s second-biggest convenience store chain.

Concerns about UNY’s struggling general merchandise store business weighed on FamilyMart shares, traders said.

(Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Kim Coghill)