January 17, 2019 / 6:35 PM / a month ago

Orange considers potential bid for Euskaltel: source

The logo of French telecom operator Orange is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

MADRID/PARIS (Reuters) - French telecoms group Orange (ORAN.PA) is considering a bid for Spanish competitor Euskaltel (EKTL.MC), a move which would consolidate its market position as number two in Spain, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

The source said Orange has not yet made a decision regarding a possible offer.

Earlier, online newspaper TMT Finance reported that Orange has hired investment bank Credit Suisse as an adviser to look at Euskaltel, based in northern Spain, and with a market value of 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion).

A merger would allow Orange greater access to Spain’s growing broadband market and Euskaltel’s 800,000 clients.

Credit Suisse and Euskaltel declined to comment.

Euskaltel’s main shareholder is Spanish bank Kutxabank, which holds 21.3 percent, followed by British fund Zegona (ZEG.L) with a 15 percent stake.

Zegona said on Monday it was raising funds with the aim of increasing its ownership of Euskaltel by up to 12.5 percent.

Aditional reporting by Andrés González; Editing by Jean-Michel Bélot, Ingrid Melander, Mark Potter and Alexandra Hudson

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