Tata Comm eyes Cable & Wireless acquisition

Indian conglomerate in "very preliminary stage" of considering cash offer for Cable & Wireless Worldwide, which also has caught the attention of Vodafone.

Tata Communications is considering plans to acquire U.K.-headquartered telecoms company, Cable & Wireless Worldwide, but discussions are still "preliminary", according to statements issued by both companies. British mobile operator Vodafone had previously announced its interest in Cable & Wireless.

In a statement late-Thursday, the Indian conglomerate's communications arm confirmed rumors that it might make a bid for Cable & Wireless as part of its "ongoing review of potential acquisition opportunities". However, it stressed that the considerations currently are at "a very preliminary stage".

In a separate statement, Cable & Wireless also acknowledged that Tata Communications was evaluating a possible cash offer. "The Board will make any further announcement as may be required in due course," it said.

Should it decide to go ahead with its bid for Cable & Wireless, Tata Communications will be competing with Vodafone which had announced on Feb. 13 that it was considering a potential cash offer for the telecoms company. Vodafone has until Mar. 12 to confirm its intention to make an offer.

A Press Association report posted Friday on the London Stock Exchange Web site priced the possible takeover at 1 billion pounds (US$1.6 billion). Tata Communications has until Mar. 29 to confirm its offer, the report noted.


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