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Tiscali 'flogs French ISP'

Telecom Italia new owner, apparently

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Tiscali has flogged its French operation to Telecom Italia for between €250m and €300m, according to press reports.

The acquisition of Tiscali's Liberty Surf unit should be signed on Thursday reports Il Corriere della Sera via AFX newswire.

According to press reports a number of suitors - including Neuf Telecom, Cegetel and Deutsche Telekom - have all been sniffing around Tiscali France. For them, the acquisition of this major ISP would be a useful way to increase their subscriber base in an increasingly competitive market.

Said analysts Ovum: "The valuation, number and identity of contenders tell much on the current state of the French ADSL market. The premium paid to win the third-ranking French player shows the competitive pressure felt by sub-scale players."

For Tiscali, the motivation for flogging its French operation is simple. While it has already disposed of non-core country businesses such as Austria, Denmark, Norway and Sweden to raise cash, it does have the pressing matter of a €250m loan which needs to be repaid by the summer. ®

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