Tiscali (company)

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Tiscali SpA

legal form Corporation
ISIN IT0004513666
founding 1999
Seat Cagliari , Italy
management Alex Kossuta
( CEO )
Alexander Okun
( Chairman )
Number of employees 892 (2013)
sales EUR 207 million (2016)
Branch telecommunications
Website [1]

Tiscali SpA is an independent Italian telecommunications company that mainly provides broadband services. After strong expansion in Europe, Tiscali is now only active in its home market of Italy.


The company was founded in January 1998 by Renato Soru in Cagliari following the deregulation of the Italian telephone market . The company owes its name to a Sardinian mountain in which the remains of an old village have been found. From March 1999, Tiscali offered the product Tiscali Free Net , a free Internet service where customers only had to pay for the time they were online. This has pushed other Italian providers to abandon their fixed subscription fees, thus helping make the internet accessible to the mass market in Italy.

During the dot-com bubble in 1999, the company was listed on the Italian Stock Exchange at a price of EUR 46. The investors were offered 3,098,000 shares, of which 2,658,000 shares were offered as part of a capital increase and the rest by Renato Soru. Soru earned 20,240,000 euros when it went public. Between 2001 and 2003, shares were also traded on the French stock exchange. In 2012, the price per share had fallen to EUR 0.04; in September 2018 it was EUR 0.014. As of June 26, 2018, Tiscali’s share capital was EUR 43,065,376.20 and is represented by 3,981,880,763 ordinary shares with no par value.

After completing a massive downsizing of five years , Tiscali has only been active in Italy since 2010. At the end of January / beginning of February 2007, Tiscali announced the sale of its activities in Germany. Tiscali completely withdrew from Austria and Switzerland in August / September 2004.

In its home country Italy, Tiscali is number four in broadband services with a market share of five percent, behind Telecom Italia , Wind and Fastweb , and level with Tele2 . However, the majority of the business is in the UK, where Tiscali, following the acquisition of the broadband service and voice division of Pipex Communications Plc with a market share of 14%, is also number four, behind Virgin Media , BT Group and AOL.

The company employs around 900 people and in 2016 generated an annual turnover of 207 million euros in Italy. The number of active users was almost 700,000 customers at the end of 2016.

Business area

Tiscali is primarily active in providing IP -based Internet broadband services, mainly in the telephone and Internet sectors. At the beginning of 2007 Tiscali entered the television sector and also offered IPTV .

Company data

1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Annual turnover (in EUR million) 1 33 173 635 748 901 1,080 736 678 911
EBIT (in EUR million) 1 -9 -173 -668 -400 -229 -119 -74 -13 -80
Net profit (in EUR million) 1 -5 -181 -1,664 -593 -242 -159 -13 -137 -75
Own funds (in EUR million) 1 138 2,215 1,126 616 419 311 308 243 170

1 Consolidated all figures at group level as published in the annual report in the corresponding financial year, including the activities subsequently sold


7.94% Renato Soru
9.99% SOVA
23.52% ICT
7.09% Rossium
51.46% Free float

Status: October 2018


Tiscali is founded by Renato Soru , who wanted to create an independent telecommunications provider in January 1998 as part of the liberalization of the telecommunications market in Italy. The company was to be based in Cagliari , the capital of his native Sardinia . Soru wanted to make a contribution to Sardinia as a business location. The company name comes from Monte Tiscali (518 m above sea level), a small mountain peak in Sardinia's Gennargentu National Park.

The company, originally founded as a regional telephone and Internet service provider, expanded just a few months after it was founded on the Italian mainland and in March 1999 was the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) to offer free Internet access . Tiscali thus secured part of the market share lost by the former monopoly Telecom Italia .

In order to finance the growth into a pan-European provider, the company went public on the Milan stock exchange in the Nuovo Mercato segment, the market for young companies , in October 1999 . Thanks to the capital from the IPO, Tiscali subsequently implemented an aggressive takeover strategy that would make Tiscali one of the largest independent Internet service providers in Europe.

In 2000 and 2001, Tiscali took over several leading independent Internet service providers for billions of euros, such as the Dutch World Online International (including 12Move ) and the French Liberty Surf . Within a few months, Tiscali took over a total of 20 companies and was thus active in 15 European countries as well as in South Africa. All of the takeovers were not paid for in cash, but were made by exchanging newly issued Tiscali shares. In 2000 Tiscali made a loss of 452 million euros in its operational business. At the height of its expansion, Tiscali had around 7.8 million active users in mid-2004 and achieved sales of EUR 1.080 billion for the year as a whole, making Tiscali the third largest Internet service provider in Europe after T-Online and Wanadoo .

Tiscali had set itself a very ambitious goal to position itself among the top three Internet service providers in all active countries and to become the largest independent Internet service provider in Europe . However, this goal turned out to be too ambitious and brought Tiscali into an increasingly threatening financial distress with losses of billions, which resulted in a massive disinvestment and a focus on only a few core markets, as well as debt rescheduling and a capital increase .

Old Tiscali logo at the time of the activities in Germany

In order to guarantee the repayment of a bond of 250 million euros due in July 2005 , Tiscali was forced to make a vital strategic decision in August 2004 to sell assets in the amount of 250 million euros and to only operate in countries with an increased potential to focus. Thus the targeted pan-European strategy had definitely failed. Just 11 days later, Tiscali announced the sale of its Austrian subsidiary and confirmed its withdrawal strategy. As a result, Tiscali withdrew from Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, Belgium, France, Denmark and partly from Spain. From now on, activities were only continued in Italy, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and the Czech Republic, which were designated as markets with increased market potential.

In 2006 Tiscali finally decided to withdraw completely from Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Spain and from 2007 to be active only in Italy and Great Britain. In May 2009 the UK business was also sold to the Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW).

Tiscali in Switzerland (Jan 2000 - Sep 2004)

With the takeover of the Swiss Internet service provider DataComm (Schweiz) AG in January 2000, Tiscali gained a foothold in Switzerland. Tiscali’s Europe-wide, highly aggressive expansion course had its first negative effects just a few months later. With the takeover of the Dutch Internet service provider World OnLine International NV in December 2000, Tiscali was suddenly represented twice in Switzerland. As a result, the 58 employees of the Swiss subsidiary World Online SA were laid off in February 2001 and all activities were merged under the brand name Tiscali , to which the activities of SurfEU .com , which was taken over in April 2001, were added later .

Tiscali offered a wide range of Internet services in Switzerland, but Tiscali never made its big breakthrough. Due to the withdrawal plan announced in August 2004, Tiscali sold its Swiss subsidiary to VTX in September 2004, thereby withdrawing completely from Switzerland.

Tiscali in Austria (Dec 2000 - Aug 2004)

The entry into the Austrian telecommunications market took place in December 2000 through the takeover of the Dutch Internet provider World OnLine International NV , which was already active in Austria. The activities of SurfEU.com Ltd , which was taken over in April 2001, and those of other companies taken over, such as Merlin , pLANetONE and Vianet , were added later . In May 2003, Tiscali took over Austria's oldest Internet provider, EUnet EDV und Internet Dienstleistungs AG , whose core business was business customers .

The range of services from Tiscali in Austria included the areas of connectivity, VPN solutions, hosting, housing, security, business solutions, media and private customer products. But as in Switzerland, Tiscali never made the big breakthrough in Austria. Tiscali always lagged behind the three largest Internet providers at the time, A-Online, UTA and Chello. This fact and above all the time pressure caused by the serious financial situation prompted Tiscali to sell the Austrian subsidiary to Nextra Telecom GmbH , a subsidiary of the Jordan Industries Group , in August 2004 , thereby completely withdrawing from Austria.

Tiscali in Germany (Feb 2000 - Feb 2007)

The market entry in Germany took place in February 2000, when Tiscali took over the Hamburg-based telephone and internet company Nikoma MediaWorks GmbH and from then on appeared under the brand name Tiscali . Tiscali expanded its activities in Germany with the takeover of the Dutch internet provider World OnLine International NV , which had entered the German telecommunications market with the purchase of the Nacamar Group a year earlier. In April 2001 Tiscali took over the German internet provider Planet-interkom . The bundled activities were carried out by the two subsidiaries Tiscali GmbH (end customer segment, DSL) and Tiscali Business GmbH (technical background support, corporate customers) based in Dreieich.

Although the company temporarily grew into the third largest Internet provider in Germany, Tiscali only had 205,000 customers in the strategically important broadband market in mid-2006, which corresponds to a market share of just under two percent. This fact caused the company to no longer regard Germany as a core market, so that the activities in Germany were put up for sale.

At the end of January 2007, the company announced that Freenet AG would take over the B2C narrowband and broadband customer division from Tiscali in Germany. At the beginning of February 2007 Tiscali announced the takeover of the B2B activities of Tiscali in Germany by Ecotel Communication AG . Tiscali is also aiming to sell its unbundling activities in Germany in order to complete the complete withdrawal from the German telecommunications market. At the end of October 2008 , the last remaining free and web mail services were switched off.

Tiscali in Great Britain

In July 2007, Tiscali announced that it would purchase the broadband services and voice business of Pipex Communications Plc for GBP 250 million. The transaction was finalized on September 13, 2007 and represents Tiscali's largest acquisition after the realignment. Tiscali is thus expanding its activities in Great Britain, where Tiscali had already generated around two thirds of its sales before this takeover. In May 2009 Tiscali UK was sold to the Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) for € 263.4 million .

See also

Web links