MILAN, April 5 Telecom Italia's COO
Marco Patuano declined to comment on Friday about media
speculation of a possible tie-up with H3G ahead of a board
meeting next week to assess the group's strategic options.
On Thursday shares in Telecom Italia surged after reports it
could discuss merging with Hutchison Whampoa's Italian
wireless unit H3G at next week's board meeting.
Patuano, who heads the group's Italian operations, confirmed
Telecom Italia's board would meet on April 11.
He also said no talks were under way about possible M&A
operations with funds from Abu Dhabi and Qatar.
Shares in the former telecoms monopoly pared losses to turn
higher after his comments and by 0905 GMT they were up 2 percent
at 0.59 euros, still close to all-time lows.
(Reporting By Stefano Rebaudo, editing by Danilo Masoni)