UK regulators have granted the wishes of Tata Communications (NYSE:TCL, news, filings) and Vodafone Group (NYSE:VOD, news, filings) and extended the deadline for both companies’ potential bids for Cable & Wireless Worldwide (LON:CW, news). Tata and Vodafone had asked for such a move, complaining that they hadn’t yet been given enough information by C&W to make their decision before today’s deadline.
Vodafone has been looking at a bid since mid-February, and they got an extension two weeks ago to match the timeframe of Tata, whose interest was revealed early in March. They each now have three more weeks, with the new deadline falling on April 19. That also gives more time for other suitors to appear out of the shadows, but so far it appears to be a two-horse race. Both companies seem to have good fits with C&W’s assets and customers, although neither is perfect. I suspect both will probably come up with an offer, although it remains to be seen what kind of offer C&W itself might actually accept.
If C&W does gain an attractive bid, it might kick off a wider wave of consolidation amongst European network operators. C&W is far from the only underappreciated asset in the region.