Italy's Fiat denies media report of merger talks with Volkswagen aimed at Chrysler takeover

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Italian automaker Fiat has denied a German media report that it is in merger talks with Volkswagen.

Shares in Fiat rose 5 percent Thursday after Manager Magazin reported that the main shareholders in Fiat SpA and Volkswagen AG have had a series of talks about Volkswagen taking over all or part of Fiat, which controls Chrysler.

The report, which did not cite sources, said VW was interested in acquiring Chrysler to help it improve its struggling footing in the United States. Volkswagen has often expressed interest in Fiat's sporty brand Alfa Romeo.

Fiat, in a statement, said no merger talks had taken place. Volkswagen refused comment.

Fiat is in the process of completing a merger with Chrysler, which it took over five years ago.