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UPDATE Easynet UK Seeking ISP Sale to Become Independent from BSkyB

Posted: 20th Jul, 2010 By: MarkJ
easynet uk isp bskyb uk sky broadbandReports claim that Easynet's ( Easynet Connect ) senior management are seeking to buy the business back from its parent company BSkyB's ( Sky Broadband ). Sky purchased Easynet in 2005 for the sum of £211m and promptly used their unbundled ( LLU ) platform as the foundation for its consumer broadband ISP packages.

It's understood by The Register and "sources who spoke on condition of anonymity" that Sky has indeed held talks with Easynet's management, including CEO David Rowe and CTO Justin Fielder, about the possibility of a sale.

Furthermore, competing talks between Sky and TalkTalk are claimed to have broken down, which is unsurprising. Selling control of such a valuable asset to one of your chief competitors, unless you have no other option, isn't ideal.

The report claims that any management buyout would see Sky retain control of the network, with Easynet's new ownership effectively left to rent capacity from Sky's Network Services unit. A deal is expected soon.

It's unclear what this could mean for ISP UK Online, which came bundled as part of Sky's original Easynet acquisition. UKO effectively suspended new customer signups last year due to "technical issues with the UK Online website" and that dubious excuse has lasted for a very.. very long time.

Privately Sky is rumoured to have viewed UKO as unnecessary competition and could not decide upon its future. It is possible that an independent Easynet, assuming it gains control back for UK Online, could move to reignite the ISP. However it is equally possible that Sky might seek to retain control of the customer base and thus the ISP.

UPDATE 1:18pm

Easynet has issued a memo to staff notifying them that some form of response concerning the firms future will be made by Thursday 22nd July 2010 at the latest. The notice calls today's reports "speculation" but does not deny their content.
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