Vodafone Spain and Masmovil denied a local press report they are in talks regarding a €6 billion acquisition of the UK-owned operator by its Spanish rival, Reuters reported.

The operators were responding to an article by Spanish online news outlet El Confidencial, which stated the pair had been negotiating a potential deal for more than a year.

It added talks were at an advanced stage, with Goldman Sachs and consultancy McKinsey acting as advisers.

The deal was mooted as a way to address fierce competition in the Spanish market, with a tie-up expected to generate synergies amounting to €2 billion.

However, representatives of both operators told Reuters they are not disucssing a merger, buyout or joint venture.

Vodafone’s Spanish business suffered during the company’s fiscal Q1 2020 (calendar Q2 2019), with revenue of €1.08 billion down from €1.2 billion in the comparable period of 2018.

Earlier in the year, Vodafone Spain denied it was mulling the sale of its fixed network.