Mittal Steel has confirmed it has begun discussions with Luxembourg-based Arcelor, as it continues efforts to buy its rival.
Mittal is refusing to give up its takeover ambition
Dutch-based Mittal hopes to trump Arcelor's plans to merge with Russian steel firm Severstal.
Arcelor, which has so far rejected Mittal's 21.5bn euro ($27.6bn; £14.8bn) hostile bid, unveiled its intention to join with Severstal last month.
Some Arcelor shareholders have said they prefer Mittal to Severstal.
The European Commission has also given its approval to Mittal's bid.
'Best value offer'
"We have started discussions with Arcelor. Yesterday was the first day," said Malay Mukherjee, Mittal's chief operating officer.
"Right from the very beginning we said we were willing to talk."
Mr Mukherjee said Mittal's bid should be more attractive to Arcelor because it had a bigger global presence.
"We are definitely more global, our assets are more balanced," he said.
"We are in all different markets and countries. Severstal is still limited to Russia and has a very small presence in the USA.
"We are convinced that our offer makes the best value for Arcelor shareholders."
Arcelor and Severstal were not immediately available for comment.
Mittal first launched its hostile bid for Arcelor in January.
Arcelor's current intention to merge with Severstal would give it 68% of the new firm, leaving 32% in the hands of Severstal's owner, billionaire Alexey Mordashov.
Mr Mordashov is said to have close ties with the Kremlin.