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Earth Lease toys with upping BT local loop bid

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Earth Lease is considering upping its £8 billion offer for BT's local loop, according to the FT.

Despite being told that BT is not interested in selling its "core asset", Earth Lease has continued to woo city analysts about its plans for the local loop.

And last week it told analysts that it might be prepared to increase its offer for the wires that connect homes and businesses to the phone network.

An Earth Lease spokesman told The Register: "We never said the original offer was the bottom line."

However, there are still a number of problems facing Earth Lease - not least because BT has ruled out, publicly at least, the sale of the local loop.

Even putting that sizeable hurdle to one side, Earth Lease's offer has been made without any detailed survey of exactly what it hopes to buy.

The consortium - headed by Babcock and Brown, and Chancery Lane Capital - has no real idea of the state of BT's local loop network. It could be in tip-top nick; some parts might be run-down and decrepit.

Until Earth Lease gets a good look at what it's buying, it cannot say. And if BT has dismissed any offer, why should it let someone take a look?

Despite ruling out the bid for its local loop, BT confirmed it did hold an informal meeting with Earth Lease about three weeks ago.

It's all very curious. ®

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