BT and AT&T are said to be preparing to end their Concert Communications joint venture which is losing up to £20m pounds a week, according to US newspaper reports.
The chairmen of the two companies, Sir Christopher Bland of BT and C Michael Armstrong of AT&T, discussed the move on Friday, the reports said.
A source of friction between the partners is said to be Concert's failure to meet European sales plans, something blamed on the lack of support by BT's partially owned units outside the UK.
Earlier this year both companies held discussions that included a possible acquisition of Concert or a merger between AT&T and BT's business services divisions.
Although closing the venture is one of several possibilities, the ultimate decision could take some time as the venture uses software and infrastructure shared by both BT and AT&T. Concert has about 7000 employees.
The global telecom venture, which was established in July 1998, was formed to provide companies with telecoms services around the world. Concert had previously been a joint venture between BT and MCI Communications.
AT&T, which could not be reached in time for a comment, had said in its April report for the first quarter of 2001 that Concert has lost $122m due to lower revenue, higher network costs and bad debt.
Another such venture, Global One, was originally established by Deutsche Telekom, Sprint and France Telecom, but was dissolved in late 1999 when France Telecom took it over.
No-one from BT in the US was available for comment.
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