Vodafone pulls out of Tiscali auction - report

Vodafone pulls out of Tiscali auction - report

Speculation linking mobile phone giant Vodafone to a takeover bid for Italian broadband business Tiscali looked to be over today.

The Financial Times said Tiscali had received at least one offer this week, but added that Vodafone would not be making a proposal.

Tiscali, which has broadband operations in the UK and Italy, had been seen as an attractive match for Vodafone, which is focusing on fixed line broadband to offset slowing growth in the saturated European mobile phone market.

Reports in Italy earlier this month said the company was preparing to make an offer for the whole of Tiscali. Vodafone declined to comment today.

The FT said the remaining four companies interested in Tiscali were BSkyB, Carphone Warehouse, Italy’s third biggest mobile operator Wind and Swisscom, which owns Italy’s Fastweb.

Vodafone was thought to be the only company interested in buying both Tiscali’s UK and Italian broadband operations. It is thought Vodafone pulled out because of a disagreement over Tiscali’s valuation.

Tiscali makes nearly three quarters of its revenues in the UK, recently reporting a 55% leap in first quarter UK sales to £156.9m (€199m).

Tiscali is expected to fetch about €1.6bn, with the price tag for the UK business alone seen as being more than £500m (€635m). Tiscali is considering breaking the business up to secure a sale.

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