India's Tata Communications has walked away from a deal to buy Cable & Wireless Worldwide after failing to reach an agreement on price.
The Indian giant said in a statement: "TCL confirms that it has been unable to reach agreement with C&W Worldwide on an offer price and therefore confirms that it does not intend to make an offer."
This leaves only Vodafone in the field for CWW.
A spokesman for CWW confirmed that the company was still in ongoing talks with Vodafone.
The takeover panel has given potential bidders until 5pm today to make their position clear.
C&W Worldwide, which has issued a string of profit warnings since its demerger from Cable & Wireless Communications in March 2010, has fixed lines that are used by mobile operators to provide links to mobile transmitters and switching offices – a process known as wholesale backhaul.
It also provides voice, data and hosting services to companies such as Next, Tesco and United Utilities, and retains an international cable network connecting more than 150 countries.
If Vodafone was to buy CWW, analysts say it could use the company's fibre network to boost its fixed-line system in the UK which in turn will ease the strain of rising data traffic.