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Fiat says reports over shareholders selling out "groundless"

MILAN (Reuters) - Fiat said on Tuesday that Italian media reports about a significant number of its shareholders having exercised their exit rights, a move that could potentially jeopardize the carmaker's merger with its U.S. unit Chrysler, were unfounded.

"These rumors are groundless," the company said in a statement. "The term for the exercise of the cash exit rights has begun today and Fiat has not received any notices of exercise of the cash exit rights."

Fiat shareholders approved the merger with a two-thirds majority on Friday. Technically the merger could still fail if around 5 percent of all shareholders exercise their rights to sell out, a possibility that analysts and management consider remote.[ID:nL6N0Q725L]

The stock fell more than 4 percent on Tuesday, partially because of concerns over the merger, but also due to a press report in Chinese media regarding a competition probe targeting Chrysler in China.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Lisa Jucca)