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Orange under pressure to move on Telecom Italia after Bouygues deal

Analysts say Orange is committed to consolidating European market, and also sees Italy as an opportunity

Paris

FRENCH telecoms operator Orange may soon face a crucial choice: shore up its position at home by gobbling up a competitor or expand its presence abroad by making a play for Telecom Italia.

While talks have reportedly begun to take over the telecom assets of the Bouygues conglomerate, thus cutting the number of mobile operators in France to three, the time may be ripe to pounce on Telecom Italia as two French companies have been increasing their stakes in the operator.

"Orange has a choice to make, to consolidate the French market or consolidate its position as a global operator with major scale in Europe, as doing both could possibly be complex," said Thomas Coudry, a Paris-based telecoms...

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