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Orange in Talks With Bouygues as Minister Calls for Telecom M&A

Orange SA and Bouygues SA are exploring a potential combination after French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg called for the country’s mobile-phone companies to merge.

Stephane Richard and Martin Bouygues, the chief executive officers of Orange and Bouygues, have held preliminary discussions about a linkup between France’s biggest and third-largest operators, people familiar with the matter said. The talks may not result in a deal, and the companies are also weighing options such as network sharing, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. France’s government owns 27 percent of Orange.