MADRID, March 25 French telecoms group Orange
has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch as an
adviser on its strategy in Spain, including the possible
acquisition of smaller competitor Jazztel, two sources
with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.
Orange came under increased pressure earlier this month to
beef up its operations in the country following the announcement
by Vodafone that it had agreed to buy local cable
Some analysts believe a recent price war in Spain to retain
cash-strapped customers and years of falling company revenues
are laying the ground for market consolidation.
"It's not only about advising Orange over the potential
acquisition of Jazztel, but also over all its options," said one
of the sources, confirming a report on website El Confidencial.
Orange boss Stephane Richard had said on Monday the group
would likely adjust its operations in some European countries.
"Consolidation in Europe is happening in the mobile sector
but will also be affected by convergence between fixed and
mobile. Orange will take part," Richard told French newspaper
"There are countries in Europe where we operate only in
mobile for now and where we will have to move."
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Orange and Jazztel declined
(Reporting by Robert Hetz and Sophie Sassard; Writing by Julien
Toyer; Editing by Paul Day and David Holmes)