BT spends £520m on Infonet purchase

BT Group is trying for a third time to crack the US market with the purchase of Infonet Services for $965m (£520m).

BT Group is trying for a third time to crack the US market with the purchase of Infonet Services for $965m (£520m).

Infonet operates in more than 70 countries and supplies services such as virtual private networks and ATM (asynchronous transfer mode), to thousands of multinational companies, including Nestle and Hitachi. However, it is loss-making.

Its shareholders are six network operators from across the world, all of whom thought they had hit the big time during the dotcom boom when Infonet was valued at $10bn. They have all agreed to sell their shares to BT.

BT's reason for buying Infonet is the company's 1,800 multinational customers that BT wants to get hold of, in particular in the US.

Existing customers will also benefit from Infonet's technology, BT claimed - cutting-edge fault management, order management, pricing and billing systems and tools.

"Infonet customers will for the first time be able to acquire in-country, as well as international, managed network services from a single truly global source," BT said. "In addition, BT expects to offer its portfolio of IT services, outsourcing solutions and its voice communications products to the Infonet customer base.

"Recognising the quality of both product sets and their importance to both sets of customers, BT intends to operate both platforms in parallel for some time. The integration and harmonisation of these will be managed so as to continue the best of both for the combined business and its customers."

Kieren McCarthy writes for Techworld

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