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Telenet in talks with Orange on Belgian network access

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French telecom operator Orange is seen at the telecommunication company headquarters near Paris

PARIS (Reuters) -Liberty Global's Telenet on Thursday said it was in talks with France's No. 1 telecoms company Orange over potential network access to Belgian cable operator VOO, which Orange plans to acquire.

The companies have reached a memorandum of understanding that will structure further negotiations, Telenet said in a statement.

"Orange confirms negotiations with Telenet for access to the cable network in the south," a spokesperson for the French company said.

Orange last year announced its plans to buy a majority stake in the Belgian fixed-line operation from Nethys in a deal that then valued the business at 1.8 billion euros ($1.76 billion).

The planned purchase - currently under European Union anti-trust review - would give Orange control over the cable network in Belgium's French-speaking Walloon region and part of the Brussels area.

The new network deal is aimed at alleviating competition concerns in the midst of the EU investigation, sources said. The European Commission last week paused its investigation while awaiting data from Orange.

The announced acquisition of 75% of VOO was a blow to Orange Belgium's local rival Telenet, which had not been selected to enter into talks.

($1 = 1.0251 euros)

(Reporting by Piotr Lipinski and Mathieu RosemainWriting by Tassilo Hummel and Marine StraussEditing by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Jason Neely and David Goodman)