German defence min surprised by BAE/EADS reports

BRUSSELS, Oct 9 (Reuters) - German Defence Minister Thomasde Maiziere on Tuesday declined to comment on the state ofnegotiations between EADS and BAE Systems butsaid he knew the situation well and was surprised by mediareports about it.

Earlier on Tuesday, DPA-AFX reported that the talks hadcollapsed. Other media reports said France and Britain had comecloser to an agreement which would allow the companies to askfor an extension to their merger talks by a Wednesday deadline.

"I don't intend to say anything about the state ofnegotiations. I am just surprised about all the things that Ihave read today," he said on the sidelines of a gathering ofNATO defence ministers in Brussels.

(Reporting by Angelika Stricker in Brussels; Writing byMichelle Martin in Berlin; Editing by Michael Roddy)

((MichelleHannah.Martin@thomsonreuters.com)(+49 30 2888 5223))