Tiscali denies rumoured UK Net business sale

Tiscali has firmly denied reports that it has put its UK Internet access business up for sale.

Several newspapers and websites repeated the claim in yesterday's Independent on Sunday that the Italian company was asking for 600 million for its 1.4 million broadband subscribers plus the 50,000 pay-TV customers that it acquired with the purchase of Video Networks in August.

But the story is just not true, Tiscali said today.

'Tiscali UK is not up for sale,' Jody Haskayne, director of PR & Communications for Tiscali UK, told this website. 'We laid out our corporate strategy in October with a focus on Italy and the UK. The UK is a very important market.'

Were Tiscali, the UK's fourth largest ISP in terms of user numbers, to sell, it would not be a complete surprise, given the difficulties faced when operating in the fiercely competitive UK broadband market. The second half of 2006 has seen a number of high-profile sales as the market increasingly consolidates around a handful of major players: Pipex bought Bulldog in August; Carphone Warehouse has got EU backing for its acquisition of AOL's UK access business; BT is to buy PlusNet; and Thus is preparing to sell Demon.