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BT to sell off Openworld

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BT has played down reports it is considering to float its broadband operation - BT Openworld - and embark on a round of costly media content acquisitions.

Marc Deschamps, BT Openworld's COO, told Reuters that BT would probably float Openworld and that the telco would consider buying content providers.

Deschamps is reported to have said that BT is prepared to be "very aggressive in making acquisitions".

But in a display of pantomime-like farce a BT spinmeister said today that there was nothing new in what Deschamps said.

Indeed, when the company was reorganised in April BT's boss, Sir Peter Bonfield, announced that the directory service, Yell, would be floated later this year.

Fielding questions from journalists eager to know if he had plans to sell off any more of BT's "family silver", Sir Peter neither ruled it in or out.

Instead, he gave the stock response that it all depended on the right market conditions, right business reasons, et cetera, et cetera.

This 'wait and see' position was affirmed once again today by BT's spinmeisters who also said that that telco was more likely to increase its content provision by developing partnerships with other content providers, rather than by acquisition... although that wasn't to say they wouldn't buy something at some point.

Which is great, except it isn't exactly what Deschamps said yesterday.

But it begs the question: why does BT let its top man talk to the press when whatever he says is massaged by BT's spinmeisters afterwards? What's the point?

What does it add to the overall understanding and knowledge of BT other than here's a company run by control freaks and fixated with maintaining an image rather than having any real substance... or not, as the case may be. ®

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