World Online Confirms Merger Talks

[London, ENGLAND] European Internet service provider
World Online
confirmed late Monday that it is holding merger talks
with Italy’s Tiscali

Rumors of the talks caused an 11 percent hike in
World Online shares Monday, while confirmation of them
caused a further 8 percent rise on Tuesday.

However, the company warned that the discussions were
still at an early stage, and that it was also considering
potential link-ups with other major firms.

“Discussions with Tiscali are exploratory in nature and
therefore we cannot anticipate whether these discussions
will lead to agreement on future co-operation,” said World
Online in a statement issued in response to the press

Tiscali is a pan-European telecommunications and Internet
services company, founded by Renato Soru in January 1998.
It started modestly by providing regional telephone and
Internet services in Cagliari before becoming a national
and international operator.

Following the June appointment of former Chief Executive
James Kinsella as chairman, World Online appears to have
consolidated its position and is pursuing an entirely new
growth strategy. It recently announced that it would
concentrate on improving its network infrastructure in
order to provide a top-quality pan-European IP distribution

Tiscali, through its subsidiary Nets S.A., has been investing
over US $130 million in building a high speed pan-European
fiber-optic backbone network to link European cities. Its
Northern Loop, linking cities in Germany and Benelux, is
scheduled for completion in mid-2000, while the Southern
Loop connecting cities in Spain, France, Switzerland and
Italy, is expected to be complete by the end of 2001.

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