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French Telecom Orange Denies ‘Secret Deal’ with Vivendi

People walk past a new shop of French telecom operator Orange, which was previously known as Mobinil, in CairoPeople walk past a new shop of French telecom operator Orange, which was previously known as Mobinil, in Cairo
People walk past a new shop of French telecom operator Orange, which was previously known as Mobinil, in Cairo, Egypt, April 6, 2016.Photo by Amr Dalsh—Reuters

In a year full of deal rumors swirling around France’s Orange, the telecom giant is steadfastly denying the latest speculation that it has reached a “secret deal” with French media conglomerate Vivendi.

An Orange spokesperson told Reuters on Wednesday that the company denies a recent unsourced report by French magazine Challenges that Orange had reached a deal with Vivendi that would include Orange buying a stake in Telecom Italia—the Rome-based telecom in which Vivendi has a 24.9% stake—and buying up to 20% of the film and television production studio Canal Plus Group. “Orange obviously discusses with all content players in a sector that is constantly evolving, but the group formally denies having reached any secret deal with Vivendi including Canal Plus and Telecom Italia,” the Orange spokesman told Reuters.

Fortune reached out to both Orange and Vivendi for comment and will update this article with any response.

The deal speculation comes at a time when European telecoms have shown an eagerness to consolidate amid a crowded market that has created an ongoing price war that weighs on the revenue of companies like Orange. In April, merger talks between Orange and fellow French telecom Bouygues fell apart after billionaire Martin Bouygues balked at the terms laid out by the French government-backed Orange, while Bouygues was also concerned over the potential difficulty of attaining antitrust approval.