Tata Said to Get Deadline Extension for Cable & Wireless Bid

Tata Said to Get Deadline Extension to Bid for Cable & Wireless
Tata Communications said March 1 it may make a cash offer for London-based Cable & Wireless. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Tata Communications Ltd. was given more time to make a bid for Cable & Wireless Worldwide Plc, the fiber-network operator that is also being evaluated by Vodafone Group Plc, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Indian company, a unit of Tata Group, was granted another two to three weeks to make an offer, said one person, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. An original deadline for bids expires today.

Cable & Wireless climbed 2.4 percent to 34.82 pence at 8:13 a.m. in London, giving the company a market value of 956 million pounds ($1.5 billion).

Tata Communications said March 1 it may make a cash offer for Cable & Wireless. Before today, the London-based company’s shares had jumped 72 percent since Feb. 10, the last trading day before Vodafone said it was in the early stages of evaluating a potential bid. The stock was down 9 percent this week.

Divya Anand, a Tata Communications spokeswoman based in Mumbai, said the company doesn’t have any update on the bidding process. Representatives at Cable & Wireless and Vodafone declined to comment.

Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile-phone operator, has until 5 p.m. today in London to decide whether to extend the deadline, make a formal offer, or walk away from a bid for Cable & Wireless, the owner of Britain’s largest business network.

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Vodafone is pursuing a European fixed-line acquisition for the first time since 2010, when it ended talks with Kabel Deutschland Holding AG, Germany’s largest cable-operator. The Newbury, England-based company wants Cable & Wireless’s fiber network to boost its fixed-line system in the U.K. and relieve the strain of surging data traffic.

Tata Communications has arranged four banks to help finance a $2 billion loan in advance of a possible offer, people familiar with the matter said yesterday. The company said March 1 it may make a cash offer for Cable & Wireless.

Purchasing Cable & Wireless would complement Tata Communications’s operations in emerging markets including South Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Tata Group, which controls the telecommunications company, has acquired companies in the U.K. including Jaguar Land Rover and Corus Group Plc.

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