Carphone, BT, Sky 'consider Tiscali bid'

Carphone Warehouse, BT and Sky are considering bids for Tiscali's UK operations, according to reports.

Carphone, whose TalkTalk service is Britain's third biggest broadband provider, has emerged as a frontrunner.

On Monday, Tiscali signalled it was up for sale and Tiscali UK has been valued at between £550m and £600m.

It has an estimated 1.7m broadband customers in the UK which, if addded to Carphone's books, would see the firm leapfrog BT and Virgin Media to become the UK's largest internet service provider.

The Financial Times reported Carphone, BT and Sky were interested. Sources confirmed to The Times that Carphone could make a bid "at the right price".

Massimo Cristofori, Tiscaliís chief financial officer, has suggested it would rather not split its domestic and international divisions, but analysts said it could be inevitable. The firm reportedly wants to find a buyer by the end of the month.

The company has recently been pushing its UK television-over-DSL product, developed from the Homechoice service it acquired in a merger with Video Networks in 2006.

Meanwhile, BT has been rolling out its Vision television service, a hybrid of Freeview and DSL, and Sky is reportedly keen to expand its broadband base.