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Freeserve – the goose that laid Dixons' golden egg

Floating the world's fastest-growing ISP would bring huge rewards

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Dixons may cash in on the success of Freeserve -- the world's fastest growing Internet Service Provider -- amid analyst reports that it could be worth a staggering £886 million. That's not bad progress for a service that didn't even exist 16 weeks ago. But as US investors turn their attentions to the UK where they feel Net companies are relatively undervalued -- compared to US stocks at least -- anything could happen. Mark Danby, the head honcho at Freeserve, is quoted as saying that the company is considering floating the service in Europe and the US. If his remarks do nothing else, they will at least contribute to the frenzy of excitement among investors keen to jump on the Net stock bandwagon. One word of caution: Freeserve may have 700,000 customers but it still needs to develop its service -- and its portal-like site -- before it becomes simply too irresistible to avoid. What's more, OFTEL and the major phone companies may well be about to throw a spanner in the Freeserve works when the telecoms regulator publishes its consultation document next month on how call charges should be split between carriers. ®

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