Mobile operators line up for Tiscali bids

Vodafone and Orange have joined the ranks of companies interested in bidding for the fixed broadband provider Tiscali. The firm's advisors have set a deadline of May 5th for non-binding offers that will include operations in Italy and the U.K. Many of the interested companies would like to buy either the Italian or U.K. units rather than both, but Tiscali's board is expected to favour a single buyer for the entire operation. Vodafone has refused to comment, but could be seen as a favourite as it has an existing presence in both countries.

The Italian arm of Vodafone purchased internet provider Tele2 last year while its U.K. broadband service uses BT's network to provide access. Tiscali claims more than 1.8 million British broadband users, with its U.K. business estimated to be worth £550 to £650 million; however, many of the potential bidders are expected to be looking to offer a much lower figure.

But Tiscali's nascent experience in broadband IPTV--having acquired VOD service Homechoice in 2006 on which to build its nascent Tiscali TV--could also tempt Orange, whose U.K. IPTV ambitions are severely delayed.

For more on this story:
- read Telegeography and The Guardian

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Telecom Italia considering Tiscali buy? Story on Telecom Italia