April 4, 2013 8:24 pm

Merger buzz boost for Telecom Italia

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Reports that Telecom Italia may consider merging with Hutchison Whampoa’s Italian unit sent its share price rallying on Thursday.

The company is expected to discuss potential mergers and acquisitions at a board meeting on April 11, according to a local newspaper report in La Repubblica.

One option on the table is Hutchison Whampoa’s Italian wireless unit H3G.

Telecom Italia’s shares jumped 7.8 per cent to €0.58 on the news.

More widely markets across Europe closed firmly in negative territory after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi failed to produce any new measures to help boost a flagging European economy.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 slumped 1.1 per cent to 1,180.65.

Fresenius Medical was a bright spot, after the dialysis provider said it planned to buy back as much as €385m of shares over the next six months.

The shares climbed 2.9 per cent to €55.60 while the wider German benchmark fell 0.7 per cent to 7,817.39.

ING also received a fillip after analysts at Exane BNP Paribas raised their rating on the stock from “neutral” to “outperform”. The shares rose 3 per cent to €5.72.

TeliaSonera lost ground one day after the Swedish telecom operator said it would initiate an external review of its Eurasian investments.

Swedish regulators are investigating allegations of bribery in Uzbekistan. The company has denied any wrongdoing.

The shares slipped 6.4 per cent to SKr43.40 on Thursday, against a 1.7 per cent fall on Sweden’s blue-chip OMXS30 index to 1,183.01.

Meanwhile shares in French telecoms operators Iliad fell after analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded their rating on the company’s stock.

The analysts changed their rating from “buy” to “neutral”.

“Valuation now appears full,” they wrote in a research note.

The shares fell 4.2 per cent to €160.50.

The Paris benchmark CAC 40 index lost 0.8 per cent to close at 3,726.16.

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