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Tiscali subscribers to be sold to Vodafone tomorrow: report

Deal will jump Voda forward in broadband market

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The Italian board of Tiscali will tomorrow approve a Vodafone offer to buy its broadband businesses outright, according to a report.

The claims have been made in the Italian newspaper MF, and have been believed by investors, who have sent shares in Tiscali rocketing this morning.

The bid is said to be worth about €2.8 per share, which would value Tiscali's broadband base at €1.6bn. The current share price of €2.54 gives Tiscali a market capitalisation of €1.46bn.

Tiscali representatives said no decision has been taken yet, Thomson Financial reports.

Unlike rivals at O2 and Orange, Vodafone shunned running its own fixed line broadband network when bundling up services was all the rage in 2006. Instead it preffered to offer mobile subscribers ADSL via a reseller deal with BT Wholesale that has been largely overlooked.

Buying Tiscali would leapfrog Vodafone into fourth in the overall broadband market, and first among mobile operators that offer fixed line internet access. It's unclear what ownership of its own network would mean for its relationship with BT.

Earlier in May, Carphone Warehouse's bid was rejected by the Tiscali board. Sky has also reportedly expressed interest in the firm's almost 1.9 million UK customers.

Tiscali also owns the Pipex, Nildram and Freedom2Surf brands. ®

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