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EXCLUSIVE-FCA discusses improved Renault merger bid to win French backing

Laurence Frost

PARIS, June 2 (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler is discussing a Renault special dividend and stronger job guarantees in a bid to persuade the French government to back its proposed merger between the carmakers, sources close to the discussions said.

The improved offer, if formalized and accepted, would also see the combined company's operations headquartered in France and the French state granted a seat on its board, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Sunday.

FCA spokeswoman Shawn Morgan declined to comment. The French government, Renault's biggest shareholder with a 15 percent stake, also declined to comment. A Renault spokesman did not immediately return calls and messages seeking comment.

Italian-American FCA is engaged in intensive discussions with Renault and the French government over the $35 billion merger proposal it pitched last Monday to create the world's third-biggest carmaker. (Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Richard Lough)