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EU: Could Orange-Telecom Italia merge by the end of the year?

 |  November 30, 2015

Talk of cross-border European telecoms mega-mergers continually resurfaces and Monday brought the latest reports of a tie-up between two incumbents: Orange and Telecom Italia.

Both immediately denied the report, which came from Bloomberg, but an official comment from Orange suggests the telco is considering its future as the borders within Europe begin to blur.

“We have a strategy and finance department who work with investment banks looking at our vision of how the European telecoms market might evolve in five to 10 years’ time should the single market in Europe become a reality,” a spokesperson for Orange said in an email to Total Telecom.

“Today, for Orange, there is no specific target that has been identified and no ongoing discussions with Telecom Italia,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Telecom Italia referred Total Telecom to comments made by the Italian incumbent’s CEO Marco Patuano, as reported by Reuters on the sidelines of an event in Rome.

“I don’t know what Orange is doing and I have not had any contacts with any telecoms operators that could be interested in a consolidation at European level,” the newswire quoted Patuano as saying.

Speculation over this particular pairing has reared its head a number of times over the years.

Orange CEO Stephane Richard issued his latest denial on the subject at the telco’s five-year strategy presentation in Paris in March.

“I confirm the non-existence of any possible discussions…with the managers and shareholders of Telecom Italia,” he said, in response to media reports at the time.

Despite the repeated denials, it is unlikely we have heard the last of the Orange/Telecom Italia marriage reports. And they will not be the only European telco giants facing similar speculation in the coming years.

Full content: Reuters

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