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Sky 'to bid' for Tiscali

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Updated We're indebted to The Sunday Times for a reminder that Tiscali is still for sale.

According to the paper, Sky has entered "exclusive" talks to buy the UK ISP business for an "indicative price" of £450m. Due diligence could bring the figure down.

Acquiring Tiscali's 1.8 million subscribers would boost Sky from fifth to third largest broadband provider with a total of 3.6 million, just behind Virgin Media.

It would also offer a short cut to competing for those internet users who don't want satellite TV. Sky's put its own "Picnic" plans to attack the wider market on ice in September, blaming Ofcom.

There's no word on whether Sky would seek to transfer Tiscali's customers to the superior Easynet network, which it bought when it moved on the ISP business in 2006. Judging by the constant stream of Tiscali network gripes reaching El Reg, it would be a popular decision with punters.

Several potential buyers including Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse have been linked with bids for Tiscali since it was put on the block at the end of February. Sale deadlines have been set by the firm's Italian bosses, and missed.

Sky's press reps were not immediately available for comment today. ®

Update

Tiscali released this statement on Monday:

With regard to what has been reported by the press and following Consob's request, Tiscali clarifies that it is currently holding talks with the BSkyB Group plc in relation to certain UK assets.

Consob is Italy's stock exchange authority.

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