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MasMovil in talks on possible merger with Vodafone's Spanish unit - report

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A balloon with the logo of Masmovil is seen during its bourse debut in Madrid
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MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish telecom operator MasMovil has started talks over a possible merger with the Spanish unit of U.K.-based telecom operator Vodafone, newspaper Expansion reported, citing sources with knowledge of the process.

MasMovil, which was taken over by three buyout funds including KKR last year, has set a first valuation of the Vodafone unit at 7.5 billion euros ($8.96 billion), the newspaper said.

Expansion did not say who would control the merged entity if a merger proceeded.

A MasMovil spokesman said he could not immediately comment, while a spokesman for Vodafone declined to comment.

Back in September, MasMovil and its private equity owners denied a previous press report about merger talks between the two rival telecom operators.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Jan Harvey)