Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/27/tomasso_tiscali_selloff/

Tiscali boss faces board showdown as sell-off rumours swirl

Make him an offer he can't refuse

By Christopher Williams

Posted in Broadband, 27th February 2008 11:24 GMT

The boss of Italian telecoms firm Tiscali, which has about two million UK broadband subscribers, is expected to quit the firm today.

The firm's board will meet this afternoon to decide Tommaso Pompei's future and, it's reported, set the scene for a sell-off of the group's ISP businesses.

The crunch confab follows speculation in the Italian press last weekend that he is stepping down ahead of a move to dismember Tiscali. Tommaso said earlier this year he expects the group's broadband subscriber bases to be acquired by larger rivals.

Mario Rosso, an existing Tiscali director, is expected to take the reins for what could be Tiscali's final months as an ISP. Pompei is reported to have fallen out with other members of the board over the strategy.

Market rumours have suggested Vodafone, Sky, and BT as likely suitors for the UK business, which itself only recently completed the acquisition of rival Pipex. The Financial Times reports Tiscali is considering appointing an investment bank to advise on a sell-off.

Tommaso has recently focused on turning Tiscali's financial fortunes around and it's expected to turn a profit for the first time in its history this year. The increasingly competitive broadband scene, which demands deep pockets, would likely make cashing in now attractive to investors.

None of the players are commenting on the sale rumours yet. ®