Hollande says EADS merger decision was by companies

French President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday that a decision to end merger talks between EADS and Britain's BAE Systems lay with those companies and the government's intervention was limited to stating its conditions.

Hollande told a news conference it was not his place to give a positive or a negative reaction to news the deal had collapsed but said the French government would continue to support EADS, in which it has a 15 percent stake.

"As an EADS shareholder France set out a number of conditions so the company heads knew what we could accept and what we could not accept," he said, citing a will to retain a stake in the merged group and protect jobs and defense interests. "It was up to them to make their decision."

(Reporting By Catherine Bremer; Editing by Brian Love)