According to a report by Reuters, Telefonica and its Italian partners in the Telco consortium have denied speculation that the Spanish firm is preparing a bid for Telecom Italia (TI). Italian daily La Repubblica had reported that Telefonica would decide on whether to conduct a merger with the Italian incumbent within the next three months. However the Spanish telecoms giant said in a statement that any reports in the media concerning its shareholdings in TI were false. Meanwhile, its Italian partners in the Telco consortium, Assicurazioni Generali, Intesa Sanpaolo and Mediobanca, described reports as ‘entirely without foundation’. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Telefonica is an indirect shareholder of TI with a 46.18% stake in Telco, which holds 24.5% of the Italian telecommunications operator.