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BT Makes Official Cash Offer For ISP PlusNet

Posted: 16th Nov, 2006 By: MarkJ
BT today announced it has made a recommended cash offer for PlusNet to the order of 210p per share, valuing the company at approximately £67m. The move confirms earlier reports:

The offer for PlusNet fits perfectly with BT’s strategy of providing its customers with the most that broadband can deliver. Broadband is increasingly becoming more than just fast internet access and PlusNet has a strong reputation for both customer service and innovation.

Operating since 1997, PlusNet was listed on the Alternative Investment Market in 2004. It has grown rapidly during the last few years and now has close to 200,000 broadband customers as well as an additional narrowband customer base. If the offer is accepted, PlusNet will retain its brand and distinct identity. It will continue to operate from its base in Sheffield and Lee Strafford will remain its CEO. For the 12 months to 30 June 2006 the company had revenues of £41m, EBITDA of £7.5m and net income of £3.9m 1.

BT Retail chief executive, Ian Livingston said: “This offer makes great sense for BT. We already provide the UK’s most popular and best-performing ADSL broadband service and this acquisition will ensure that even more people can enjoy our market-leading services. PlusNet’s customers and employees will benefit from the combination of PlusNet’s excellent platform and access to BT’s resources and technology development.”

Lee Strafford, CEO of PlusNet said: “I am pleased to announce BT’s offer this morning. Whilst the PlusNet Directors continue to believe that PlusNet is a high quality business, our sector is consolidating and there are considerable benefits to PlusNet in becoming part of BT. BT recognises the importance of retaining PlusNet’s identity and culture and I believe this will give rise to exciting opportunities for PlusNet, our customers and our employees.”

The directors of the company, having unanimously recommended the offer, have provided irrevocable undertakings to accept BT’s offer.

PlusNet has also issued a press release of their own HERE. It's too early to be sure precisely what will change, although PlusNet's PR does offer a few hints:

This transaction will allow us to develop our business model, maintain our cultural approach and benefit from:
  • greater investment capability

  • access to new products and services including BT’s WiFi Fusion and BT Vision propositions ; and

  • access to BT Retail’s broadband network platform and the associated scale benefits.

BT’s immediate plans are to continue to operate PlusNet as a separate entity within the BT group from its Sheffield offices. It is of great importance to BT to retain PlusNet’s distinct identity and culture and for it to continue to trade under the PlusNet brand.
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