Vodafone, Tata Get Deadline Extension for Cable & Wireless Bid

Vodafone Group Plc and Tata Communications Ltd. were given more time to make a bid for U.K. fiber-network operator Cable & Wireless Worldwide Plc.

India’s Tata and Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile-phone operator, now have until April 19, Cable & Wireless said in a statement today. The original deadline for bids expires today. There’s no certainty that an offer will be made, the company said.

Cable & Wireless climbed 2.2 percent to 34.76 pence at 9:21 a.m. in London, giving the company a market value of 955 million pounds ($1.5 billion).

Tata Communications, a unit of Tata Group, 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 deadline extension will enable Vodafone and Tata to “establish whether or not their preliminary discussions with Cable & Wireless might result in a formal offer for the company which the board of Cable & Wireless would be willing to recommend,” the company said today.

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 may use Cable & Wireless’ fiber network to boost its fixed-line system in the U.K. and relieve the strain of surging data traffic. Cable & Wireless is the owner of Britain’s largest business network.

Purchasing Cable & Wireless would complement Tata Communications’ 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.

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.

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