Time is running out for Vodafone to make a bid for the struggling telecoms company Cable and Wireless Worldwide (CWW) following news Tata Communications has decided not to bid for the firm.
Britain's biggest mobile operator indicated it was mulling a possible offer in February, shortly afterwards Indian conglomerate Tata joined the fray but now says it "has been unable to reach agreement with CWW on an offer price and therefore confirms that it does not intend to make an offer".
This news leaves Vodafone as the only shark circling the ship, but it only has until 17:00 today before the bid deadline runs out.
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The logic of the deal for Vodafone is strong. It would get access to CWW's huge fibre optic network that would provide more bandwidth for data-hungry mobile consumers, now addicted to their smartphones.
CWW also has operations providing high speed internet and telephone services to big companies, a business Vodafone may be able to revive.
The final temptation would be in tax benefits; CWW has lost significant amounts of money since being separated from Cable and Wireless Communications back in 2010, those losses could be set against tax claims from HMRC.
The question for Vodafone's Chief Executive Vittorio Colao though is "at what price?" With Tata now out of the game CWW's stock has dropped over 20% in morning trading and the clock is ticking.
CWW said late last night that discussions with the FTSE 100 group are still ongoing but "There can be no certainty that any offer will be made, nor as to the terms of any offer."
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