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SNCF planning rival bid for Arriva - report

LONDON, March 21 (Reuters) - French state railway group SNCF is planning to gatecrash its German counterpart Deutsche Bahn's takeover bid for British bus and train operator Arriva , the Sunday Times reported, without citing sources. The newspaper said senior SNCF executives had held talks with French government officials about making a potential bid for the firm, which has operations in 12 European countries. SNCF had no immediate comment. Earlier this month, Arriva ended talks with SNCF on an equity tie-up with SNCF affiliate Keolis. Deutsche Bahn confirmed on Thursday that it had made an approach to Arriva, believed to be worth 700 pence per share . (Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien and Tamora Vidaillet in Paris; Editing by Hans Peters) Keywords: SNCF/ARRIVA (rosalba.obrien@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 7717; Reuters Messaging: rosalba.obrien@thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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