Vodafone in talks to buy MasMovil -El Economista newspaper

MADRID, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Mobile telephone operator Vodafone has started talks to buy Spanish rival MasMovil with the three buyout funds who recently took it over, El Economista newspaper reported on Friday, citing sources with knowledge of the situation.

The operation could value MasMovil at 6 billion euros, including debt, El Economista said.

Vodafone and MasMovil were not immediately available for comment.

Private equity funds KKR, Cinven and Providence recently bought most shares in MasMovil in a public tender offer that valued the company at 3 billion euros and are planning to squeeze out the remaining minority holders and delist the company in the coming weeks.

European telecoms operators have struggled to boost profit growth in a crowded market and possible consolidation in Spain could be followed by other similar moves in other countries. (Reporting by Inti Landauro; editing by Jason Neely)