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TalkTalk extends Toscafund bid deadline for second time

Investment firm Toscafund made a £1.1 billion approach for TalkTalk in October.


(John Stillwell/PA)

(John Stillwell/PA)

(John Stillwell/PA)

Telecoms group TalkTalk has agreed an extension to the deadline for suitor Toscafund to make a firm offer for the second time amid takeover discussions.

Investment firm Toscafund, which is already a major shareholder in TalkTalk, now has until December 17 to table an offer or walk away.

Toscafund made a 97p-a-share approach for TalkTalk in October, valuing the group at £1.1 billion, with an original deadline of November 5.

This was moved to December 3 before the latest extension, which comes as the two firms continue discussions and as Toscafund carries out due diligence.

The latest approach marks a hefty drop in price after Toscafund reportedly put forward a 135p-a-share approach a year ago, valuing TalkTalk around £1.5 billion.

London-based Toscafund is run by Martin Hughes, nicknamed “the Rottweiler” in the City of London.

He has asked for the backing of TalkTalk’s chairman, Sir Charles Dunstone, before he makes any firm bid.

Sir Charles, the Carphone Warehouse founder who launched TalkTalk in 2013, still holds a near-30% stake in TalkTalk, making him the firm’s biggest shareholder.

Toscafund owns 29% of the company, according to data from Marketscreener.

Tosca also holds big stakes in Ted Baker and Stobart Group.

While its proposal would value TalkTalk at about £1.1 billion, it would not pay this much as the investor already owns more than a quarter of the company.

In July Tosca confirmed to Sky News that it had made an offer for TalkTalk in 2019.

It has since been upping its stake in the company.