Acquisitive US communications company Qwest has turned to Europe, gobbling up Internet service provider EUnet for $154 million.
The latest acquisition is Qwest?s fourth major buy in the past eight months, and according to CEO Joe Nacchio, will provide a data transmission service between the US and Europe that cannot be bettered.
EUnet has a presence in 13 European countries and serves approximately 60,000 customers, mostly business users. Qwest will also pick up a 50 per cent interest in German ISP, X-Link.
In a conference call, Nacchio outlined the driving force behind the acquisition.
?Since we went public nine months ago we wanted to have a global presence. EUnet has similar ambitions to Qwest and is also guided by a risk taking and entrepreneurial spirit.?
?Most importantly, we have picked up 60,000 customers from a company that should have revenue of $75 million in 1998, and 400 employees that really know the European market," he continued. ?This will enable Qwest to serve the middle and top end of the market much more effectively.?
Despite EUnet?s high penetration in the European access market, Nacchio stressed that there was still much work to be done. ?EUnet is probably the biggest access provider in terms of its span, but comparatively low in terms of revenue. It has a very small presence in Germany and none at all in the UK, so from a Qwest point of view there is still a lot to be done," he said.
Nacchio stated that the company remained committed to voice over IP, adding that the service should be available in Europe within six months.
Earlier this month, Qwest bought US telco LCI for $4.4 billion, making Qwest the fourth largest US long distance carrier. An earlier deal with Teleglobe provided Qwest with two 155Mbps circuits crossing the Atlantic, with an option on two other lines with similar strength - giving the company up to 600Mbps of transatlantic bandwidth to support its European growth.
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