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Ovo Ponder Sale of SSE Broadband Customers to ISP TalkTalk

Monday, May 23rd, 2022 (7:34 am) - Score 5,184
sse

Low-cost UK home broadband ISP TalkTalk is reportedly in talks that could result in the acquisition of Ovo Energy‘s internet access base, which is perhaps better known to consumers as SSE’s broadband and phone division (Ovo’s retail division doesn’t have its own packages). The deal, if agreed, could involve around 100,000 customers.

Ovo originally acquired SSE’s household energy and broadband business for £500 million in January 2020 (here), comprising £400 million in cash and £100 million in loan notes. Since then, most UK energy providers have been hit by a tsunami of turbulence due to the massive surge in energy prices, although Ovo, despite being under strain itself, has so far managed to survive and is believed to serve around 3.5 million households.

According to the Telegraph (paywall), Ovo cut 1,700 staff at the start of this year (roughly a quarter of its workforce) and has been busy reorganising itself to better cope with the changing environment. Apparently, part of that strategy may involve a deal to offload their broadband base to TalkTalk, although it is not yet known whether the alleged talks will actually result in an agreement.

At present, neither side is commenting on the speculation, although such news does add an extra dimension to all the recent talk about Vodafone and Sky (Sky Broadband) sniffing out the possible acquisition of TalkTalk itself (here). The potential buyer, should one even exist, is unlikely to make a move until after any talks with Ovo have reached some sort of conclusion – whatever that may be.

As a side note, SSE’s (Ovo) broadband base is provided via a managed wholesale solution, which in the past was – we believe – supplied via Daisy Wholesale. But their latest T&C’s mention Vodafone.

UPDATE 10:13am

Correction, SSE does have FTTP packages.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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11 Responses
  1. anon says:

    A few corrections:

    OVO/SSE Customers are currently provided by Vodafone.

    They have access to full FTTP in various speeds as well as FTTC/ADSL.

    There’s a lot more than 100,000 customers.

    The company has recently invested heavily in systems and structure for broadband.

    All of which point to this being a non-starter of a story.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      You’re correct on FTTP, those packages sat a few scrolls down, so I didn’t spot them.

      Do you know anything / sources that can confirm whether Vodafone is the current supplier or that there are a lot more than 100,000 customers?

    2. anon says:

      I found this:

      https://sse.co.uk/about-us/legal/privacy-policy

      If you’re a phone and/or broadband customer, we’ll share your data with Vodafone – our current phone line and broadband supplier.

    3. anon says:

      Even 9 years ago unless they shrunk loads recently:

      https://www.investegate.co.uk/sse-plc–sse-/rns/preliminary-results-for-year-ended-31-march-2013/201305220700262727F/

      SSE offers retail telecoms services including telephone line rental, calls and broadband to over 200,000 customer accounts.

    4. Mark Jackson says:

      They might well have shrunk, that customer data is too old.

    5. Eamonn says:

      “The company has recently invested heavily in systems and structure for broadband”

      Bit of a mute point if an acquisitive party like TalkTalk are willing to fork up the money for the base. Offloading the infrastructure will likely be less of a financial hit for SSE thank supporting the base and trying to convert to full fibre.

      The fact it currently sits with Vodafone is even more reason to believe TalkTalk would look to acquire this estate.

  2. Bob says:

    I could not find the number of current customers but the last published accounts give the revenues for 2021 at £41M

    It comes under OVO (S) Retail Telecoms Limited

    1. Darren says:

      At £30 a month excluding VAT, that would be 110,000 customers. That seems to be a high number per customer, so I’m tempted to say more than 110,000. However they may do other business type work to offset that. So somewhere in the 100 – 200 thousand customers would be correct.

  3. Rega says:

    Ah SSE
    I used to work on the team at daisy wholesale (now digital wholesale solutions) for them
    They where a great reseller, nice team to chat and work with.
    Then someone opened a “can of worms” and they left to go to Vodafone saying it was cheaper, I heard they said the support suffers and was no where near as good as what we offered

    It was a big loss to us because my team had to be disbanded to the people I worked with for 5 years+ we all moved on to other departments so people even left the company it was not a great time.
    Lucky things have moved on and we all seems be doing well.

    1. simon says:

      I have a leased line with Daisy – I am glad the company seems to be rated highly on glassdoor and by you.

  4. ad47uk says:

    This is the one problem I have with smaller providers, is that they will be taken over by Talk Talk. One reason I have stayed with Plusnet. The chance of them being taken over by Talk Talk is pretty slim
    Also one of the reason I am not too bothered about changing over to zzoomm when it comes here, the CEO started up one broadband company and flogged it.

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