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Japan Tobacco Inc., the world’s third-largest cigarette maker, declined Tuesday to comment on a newspaper report it was a potential bidder for Tekel, Turkey’s state-owned cigarette maker.

Turkey’s state-asset sales agency and its adviser, Citigroup Inc., have started preliminary talks with potential bidders, Istanbul-based newspaper Milliyet reported Saturday. Turkey aims to sell Tekel by the end of the year, according to the report.

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