PARIS (Reuters) - The boss of French telecoms group Orange ORAN.PA said on Wednesday that tie-up talks with rival Bouygues BOUY.PA should conclude by the end of February or early March and reiterated previous declarations that the chances of a deal were 50-50.
Orange Chief Executive Stephane Richard said there was “a positive dynamic” to discussions.
Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Paris, Richard said regarding the expected conclusion of talks: “I can’t say at this point whether it will be at the end of February or the start of March, but that will be around that time.”
Orange is in talks to buy Bouygues Telecom for about 10 billion euros ($10.9 bln) in cash and shares, in a deal which could see Bouygues receive a 15 percent stake in Orange valued at 8 billion euros, and the rest in cash.
The tie-up would reduce the number of mobile operators in France from four to three, creating a new giant with a market share of close to 50 percent in mobile and fixed-line communications.
Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Ingrid Melander
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