Orange hires Morgan Stanley and BNP as M&A advisers: Sources

LONDON/PARIS: French telecoms group Orange has hired investment banks Morgan Stanley and BNP Paribas to assess the merits of doing a deal with other network operators in Europe, including Telecom Italia , two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Orange has yet to approach Telecom Italia but could do next year once it has decided its strategy with the help of its advisers as European telecoms markets converge, one of the sources said.
The French firm is still considering its options, the source said, while also waiting to see the outcome of Telecom Italia’ s current ownership restructuring, which entails the conversion of its 6 billion savings shares into ordinary stock.
He also said there were no current talks between Orange and Telecom Italia’s biggest shareholder, French media group Vivendi .
Led by billionaire Vincent Bollore, Vivendi has built up a 20.1 percent stake in Telecom Italia, which is wrestling with 26.8 billion euros of debt. Vivendi is now seeking a say over the company’s strategy with a request to appoint four representatives to its board.
Meanwhile Xavier Niel, founder of low-cost French telecoms group Iliad, disclosed in October he held call options relating to 15.14% of Telecom Italia’s share capital.
Representatives at Orange and Telecom Italia declined to comment

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