EADS, BAE Systems chiefs to discuss next merger steps

PARIS, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The chief executives of EADS

and BAE Systems will discuss the planned merger of Europe's leading aerospace companies later on Tuesday and "decide the way forward," a spokesman for EADS said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

The companies have been given until 1600 GMT on Wednesday to decide whether to press ahead with their $45 billion merger as European governments debate its implications on security and jobs, but are widely expected to seek an extension.

(Reporting by Matthias Blamont)

((tim.hepher@thomsonreuters.com; +33 1 49 49 54 52; Reuters Messaging: tim.hepher.thomsonreuters@reuters.net))

Keywords: EADS BAE/