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Orange, Bouygues merger collapses

European telecom stocks have stumbled after a deal to create France’s biggest telecoms group collapsed.

French operators Orange and Bouygues Telecom ended talks late on April 1st over the reported €10 billion merger.

Bouygues shares are on course for their worst fall in 17 years, plummeting nearly 15 per cent in early trading, while Orange shares are down 4.8 per cent. The news also sent BT shares down 1.1 per cent and Vodafone down 0.5 per cent, although they later recovered some of those losses.

The potential merger of Orange with its smaller rival Bouygues was intended to boost profits and would have reduced the number of mobile operators from four to three in France.

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