Tata Comm withdraws from CWW bid

New Delhi: Tata Communications on Wednesday pulled out of the acquisition bid for Cable&Wireless Worldwide (CWW) as it has failed to reach an agreement on offer price with the British firm. "TCL on Wednesday confirms that 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 for CWW," Tata Communications said in a statement.

With TCL moving out, UK-based telecom giant Vodafone is the only contender for the bid.

CWW owns fixed lines that are used by mobile operators to provide links to mobile transmitters and switching offices. It also provides voice, data and hosting services to major British companies such as Next, Tesco and United Utilities, and retains an international cable network connecting more than 150 countries.

The acquisition would have provided TCL, which owns undersea cable assets and provides telecom and internet services to companies across countries, a larger footprint in voice and data carrier businesses as well as in the undersea cable network.

CWW said discussions with Vodafone Group are on.

"In accordance with Rule 2.6(a) of the Code, Vodafone must, by a deadline of not later than 5.00 p.m. on April 19, 2012, either announce a firm intention to make an offer for CWW in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer for CWW," CWW said.

However, there is no certainty that any offer will be made, it added. Comments of Vodafone could not be received till the time this report was written. Also, TCL has the option of re-bidding if the deal with Vodafone does not go through.

"TCL reserves the right to announce an offer or possible offer or make or participate in an offer or possible offer for CWW (and/or take any other action which would otherwise be restricted under Rule 2.8 of the Code) within the next six months following the date of this announcement in the circumstances," TCL said.

Had the Tatas prevailed, it would have marked the latest in a series of British acquisitions by the Indian giant which already owns Jaguar Land Rover and Corus, the steel-maker.

TCL had appointed Standard Chartered Bank and Morgan Stanley as financial advisors for the deal. The company had on March 1 announced that as part of its on-going review of potential acquisition opportunities, TCL is evaluating a possible cash offer for Cable and Wireless Worldwide Plc.

CWW had extended the last date for both TCL and Vodafone from March 29 to April 19 to make the offer for acquiring the company. Prior to that, the CWW board had extended the deadline from February 13 to March 29 for Vodafone.