BT has acquired a 32.5 per cent stake in I.Net, an Italian business Internet service provider (ISP), in a move to increase its European Internet presence.
BT said today it will pay £13 million for the stake to become I.Net’s second largest shareholder.
A BT spokesman commented; “BT has an expansive policy across Europe and we’re always looking for opportunities. This move fits well with our European strategy for IP capabilities. I am sure this is not the end to our forays into the European market.”
I.Net provides Internet connectivity, Web hosting and ecommerce services to more than 3,500 large and medium sized corporate customers through leased lines and dial up connections.
Pat Gallagher, president of BT Europe, said, “This is an important step towards consolidating our Internet presence in Italy, one of the fastest growing markets in Europe. I.Net’s reputation and quality standards are perfectly in line with our business philosophy across all sectors.”
Italy has Europe’s fourth largest telecommunications market. The number of corporate users online has been predicted to rise from 400,000 to around 3.2 million by 2005, BT claimed.
Robert Galimberti, chief executive of I.Net said: “Together with BT and Albacom we will reinforce our national and international backbone as well as developing our portfolio to include future ecommerce and ebusiness solutions.”
I.Net expects to make a public flotation at the end of this year.
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