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Sky & BT Sniffing Out AOL UK

Posted: 12th Jun, 2006 By: MarkJ
The Sunday Times carries word that BSkyB (Sky Digital) and BT could be emerging as favourites to buy ISP AOL UK, sidelining any potential interest from Vodafone, O2, Google and The Carphone Warehouse:

Last year BSkyB, which is 38% owned by News Corporation, ultimate owner of The Sunday Times, paid £211m for Easynet, the telecoms company, in preparation for its imminent launch of a broadband internet service. Acquiring AOL would give the satellite broadcaster a larger customer base from which to recoup its investment in network infrastructure.

BT would also be keen to add AOL customers to its existing total of 2.6m broadband users. The telecoms group is already the wholesale provider for most of AOL’s 1.3m broadband customers.

Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone, O2 and Google are all unlikely to bid for AOL. Carphone Warehouse is concentrating on its own recently launched “free” broadband service, which has already attracted 340,000 customers.


It's unclear which division of BT (Retail or Wholesale) would be interested, although no doubt Ofcom would have a few reservations.

Reportedly nobody is too pleased with the £1Bn asking price, although experts suggest that it's hard to value the business, which could end up going for nearer half the initial sum.
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