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LONDON: Vodafone boss Nick Read said on Wednesday he was in talks with "multiple parties in multiple markets" to pursue deals because he believed that in-market consolidation could drive greater shareholder value.

He listed Spain, Italy, UK and Portugal as markets that would benefit from consolidation to reduce the number of operators.

Read, talking to reporters following a trading update and the news that activist investor Cevian Capital had taken a stake in the firm, said he believed that policy makers understood the importance of consolidation, a move that could enable operators to lower costs and invest more in their networks.

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He said he needed other parties to be pragmatic and realistic on valuations, and said for the spun-out towers business a combination with Deutsche Telekom would be ideal.

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