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Deutsche Telekom Amongst Tiscali Contenders; Offloads Media Division; Closes In On Three: Reports

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Could Tiscali be bought? The broadband, IPTV and telephony provider is “being courted by about 10 potential buyers, four of which have made ‘concrete’ moves”, reports newspaper MF in its native Italy (via Reuters). The paper pegs Deutsche Telekom (NYSE: DT) (DT), Swisscom, BT (NYSE: BT) and, domestically, Wind as the four making the strongest case. MF also says DT has “accelerated talks” to buy Three Italia from Hutchison Whampoa.

That would be an increase of activity from October, when DT’s T-Mobile CEO Hamid Akhavan confirmed interest but said there were no talks ongoing. Deutsche Telekom could well fund these moves from what FT Deutschland (via CNNMoney.com) today says is its sell-off of its media unit for about 700 million euros to Austrian bank Macquarie.

For Swisscom, a Tiscali acquisition would be a further foray in to Italy, where it snapped up 80 percent of FastWeb in May. But Tiscali, which bought London-based IPTV service HomeChoice lst year, has a strong broadband presence in the UK, too – since that service runs on BT’s unbundled local loop lines, for the dominant telco it would be a landgrab to bring consumers under its own umbrella banner; there may also be room to consolidate Tiscali’s IPTV and BT Vision.