UK customers of web hosting company Exodus may choose to renegotiate their contracts if the proposed buyout by Cable and Wireless (C&W) is completed by the end of January, as expected.
C&W has delved into its estimated cash pile of $4.4bn to buy the Exodus brand, corporate customer base and 30 data centres. Exodus has around 3,500 customers and hosts a third of the world's 150 most-visited websites, including Yahoo.
A dip in demand for web hosting had left Exodus with debts of over $4bn, leading it to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September.
A C&W spokesman said existing contracts will be acquired as part of the deal.
"Depending on the content of those individual contracts, if companies want to negotiate if the deal goes through, then they may do so," he said.
Exodus refused to say how many customers it had in its two UK data centres that C&W will acquire as part of the deal. But application service provider Aspective is one customer.
Aspective press relations manager, Sarah Norton, said the company had been in negotiations with Exodus since the host applied for Chapter 11, and would continue with it.
"I believe that C&W will be acquiring the London data centre which we use, and that everything shall continue as normal," she said. "We are confident that our customers will not be affected by the changes."
Mike Cansfield, principle analyst for analyst Ovum, said that customers may be happy that a big name has bought Exodus. "People will increasingly move towards recognised brands," he said.
Geoff Pflaumer, president of the Colocation and Hosting Association (CHA), said there would be a period of unease for Exodus customers following the acquisition.
"Exodus customers will move from a carrier-neutral environment to a C&W one. In our experience, the carrier-neutral situation is the most successful, so it all depends on how good a job C&W does of persuading other carriers to stay with them," he said.
Pflaumer said that C&W had the US market in mind when making the Exodus acquisition, as that is where the market is set to grow.
"I don't think C&W gave that much thought to Europe. After all, it was moving to Europe that got Exodus into trouble in the first place," he said.
Financial analysts reacted badly to the deal. Although C&W had been under pressure to spend, analyst group Lehman Brothers downgraded the company to "market underperform" status.
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