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EXCLUSIVE: Orange-Telecom Italia Merger Rumored By Year-End, But Companies Deny Talks

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EXCLUSIVE: Orange-Telecom Italia Merger Rumored By Year-End, But Companies Deny Talks
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Orange SA (ADR) (NYSE: ORAN) and Telecom Italia SpA (ADR) (NYSE: TI) shares are little-changed after a Bloomberg report mentioned the two could explore a "combination" earlier on Monday.

Orange SA, the fifth largest telecom in Europe by market capitalization, told Reuters it was not in talks with Telecom Italia, but added it is studying the sector.

"Orange's financial and strategic management team is working with banks to finetune its view of the evolution of the telecoms sector in the context of a single market on a 5- to 10-year horizon," a spokesman told the outlet.

Telecom Italia's CEO separately said it's had no contact with Orange, according to Reuters.

Year-End Timeframe Possible?

Speaking to Benzinga, a source who asked not to be named said Orange could acquire Telecom Italia by the end of 2015. The deal is rumored to be advised by Morgan Stanley and BNP Paribas.

Telecom Italia, Italy's largest telecom company which sports a market cap just above $24 billion, deserves a "premium" in the event of a merger with Orange, the source added.

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