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Virgin.net to be split

Leisure portal parts with dial-up Net customers

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Joint ISP venture Virgin.net is to be split by its owners Virgin group and NTL in a £240m deal, today's FT reports.

The companies are understood to be bashing out an agreement that would let NTL take over Virgin.net's 560,000 dial-up Internet customers, while Virgin would get the service's entertainment and leisure portal.

NTL is expected to pay Virgin up to £100m in cash and shares, which would leave Virgin with around two per cent of NTL equity. It is believed the two corporate giants disagreed over a possible flotation, while NTL vetoed a move to fold Virgin.net into Virgin.com.



WorldCom released plans to divide off its consumer telephony business yesterday. The US telecomms company released the news following the failure of the proposed $115bn merger with rival Sprint.




Wireless data services company OverNet Data saw shares jump from 115p to 275p yesterday on its first day of trading. This was in contrast to rival iTouch, which yesterday cut the price of its IPO - expected next Wednesday.




BT has hired city advisors to spin off its Yellow pages business, and its Yell.com arm. The news has been interpreted as a step towards a possible £5 billion stock market float. BT itself reported a 27 per cent fall in pre tax profits, to a still considerable sum of £561 million from March to June. Fierce competition in the market and Cellnet's new mobile license are being blamed for the phone giant's poor showing.




Nokia has warned that its third quarter earning will fall short of those from the second quarter. The move that has wiped E40 billion (£24.6 billion) off its market capitalisation and sent its stock price falling by more than 20 per cent,

The FT

reports. The profits are still expected to equal those for the same period last year. The company is blaming slow sales of its new higher margin products and delays in introducing new models.




Investors ditched shares in Amazon yesterday on the back of disappointing results, causing the share price to drop 17.5 per cent. Shares in the e-tailer hit their lowest point since November 1998 - they fell more than $6 (£4) per share at one point before a recovery brought shares to close at $31.375, down more than $4.5.




Shareholders have sent a stinging rebuke to the directors of Vodafone AirTouch for the £10 million bonus taken by CEO Chris Gent following the completion of the company's merger with Mannesmann. In a vote to approve the pay deal, many shareholders either abstained or voted against the measure, producing one of the biggest shareholder revolts in history. Of course, the resolution still got through, but Chris tried to calm shareholders down by investing most of the bonus back into Vodafone shares. The chairman gave an "unreserved apology".




Server minders TeleCity saw its share price rise 2 per cent on the announcement of better-than-expected half-year results. Turnover jumped from £1.2 million to £4 million. The colocation market is having a second boom as existing companies run out of space.




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