Freeserve deal provokes little enthusiasm
Depends which way you look at it
Despite the significance of yesterday's announcement concerning the sale of Freeserve to French outfit, Wanadoo, the deal has received a lukewarm reception from commentators and investors alike.
Which begs the question: who got the best deal?
Has Dixons slipped Wanadoo top merchandise at a knockdown price - or is Dixons well shot of Freeserve?
Or, to put it another way, did Dixons hand France Telecom the crown jewels of Britain's Internet industry - or did it give 'em a knackered old beast infected with BSE?
Well, shares in Freeserve and Dixons both fell yesterday on the news, which suggests that investors aren't that fussed.
The Express ran the headline today "Freeserve gloom as it falls to French" - which kinda says it all.
Peter Misek, a senior analyst at Chase H&Q, is widely quoted in many of the papers as saying that the £1.65 billion valuation of Freeserve and the meagre premium was "disappointing".
He did concede that the deal made strategic sense.
In its assessment, the FT maintains that Freeserve "could not afford for the deal to fall through, especially after the collapse of its talks with T-Online."
The Gurdian quotes Robin Hutchings, analyst at West LB, who said: "At the end of the day this deal is about exchanging poor quality paper for slightly less poor quality paper."
So what do you think? Has France Telecom been handed the Crown jewels or mad cow disease? ®