Telecom Italia will not start talks with Hutchison at present

MILAN Thu Jul 4, 2013 11:29am EDT

A Telecom Italia antenna booster is seen in northern Rome November 12, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

A Telecom Italia antenna booster is seen in northern Rome November 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

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MILAN (Reuters) - Italian phone company Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) said on Thursday it would not start talks "at present" with Hutchison Whampoa (0013.HK) on merging their Italian mobile phone businesses.

"According to the management report on the conclusion of the discussions with the counterparty, the board of directors noted that at present there are not the elements necessary to start negotiations," the company said in a statement.

Talks between the Italian operator and the Hong Kong-based group, which is backed by magnate Li Ka Shing, were first disclosed in April.

But Telecom Italia postponed a decision in June to focus on a separate deal to spin off its fixed network into an independent company.

(Reporting by Jennifer Clark, editing by Stephen Jewkes)

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