European shares flat, consolidation hopes boost Iliad
* FTSEurofirst 300 index steadies in late trading
* Iliad, Bouygues up on sector consolidation hopes
* Miners slip on global growth concerns
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, June 12 (Reuters) - European equities steadied near recent multi-year highs on Thursday as a rally in some telecom stocks on merger hopes in the sector was offset by a sharp decline in mining shares driven by global growth concerns.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up flat at 1,391.76 points by 1345 GMT, hovering just below this week's 6-1/2-year high.
However, Iliad rose 6.3 percent, the top gainer on the FTSEurofirst index, and Bouygues advanced 5.3 percent on expectations of more consolidation in the French telecom sector.
Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said on Thursday the government still wants to reduce the number of mobile telecom operators in France to three from four to bring an end to the "destructive spiral" of falling prices.
"You have seen signs of consolidation and we have got some more this morning. Consolidation is a good thing for the sector as it improves their market power and pricing, which has been a key issue holding back earnings in the sector," Macquarie strategist Daniel McCormack said. Continuación...