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MILAN, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Telecom Italia Chief Executive Marco Patuano said on Friday the company must explore the possibility of buying Brazilian telecoms operator Oi or merging it with its local unit TIM Participacoes .
Asked about whether the Italian group could be interested in a purchase or a merger with Oi, Patuano told analysts on a conference call: "I think that it is mandatory to explore the possibility of such a big strategic opportunity."
Speaking in English, Patuano added any deal would have to respect the group's "financial discipline" and create value for shareholders: "We are not desperate and we don't want to make a deal at any cost." (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, editing by Silvia Aloisi)