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A report in the Wall Street Journal claimed that IBM has put its Global Network up for a sale, and has hired Merrill Lynch to put it out to tender. The unit could fetch as much as $4 billion, Big Blue hopes, but it would have to be a worldwide ISP which thought it was worth it. Four years ago, IBM pushed the Global Network hard as an Internet solution, not just for its own corporate customers but also for end users. The backbone is IBM's own international telecomms network across the world. The news could indicate that IBM is somewhat strapped for cash, coming as it does on the heels of a report that it wanted to sell off its printer division earlier this year. The Global Network is part of Big Blue's lucrative services division and accounts for around three per cent of the company's revenue. But sources close to the company say elements of the network is extremely antiquated, using copper infrastructure and token ring cabling which might not appeal to potential customers. Only large multinationals such as AT&T or British Telecom could afford to buy a $4 billion system. IBM would not comment on the reports at press time. ®

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