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West LB still sniffing round BT's network

Set to offer more than £20bn

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German investment bank, West LB, is set to make a renewed offer for BT's fixed line phone network, according to the Times.

Earlier this year BT rejected an £18 billion approach for its network by the same outfit.

However, it appears West LB is prepared to up its offer to more than £20 billion in a bid to get BT to reconsider.

It is expected to make its bid once BT has completed the flotation of its mobile business.

If successful, BT would hand over the running of it phone network while maintaining control of its customer base.

This latest development comes hard on the heels of news that Earthlease is to increase its offer for the local loop - the wires and cable that connect customers to the phone network.

In both cases BT has ruled out selling parts of its network.

However, the fact that both bids are still alive despite being turned down suggests that either BT didn't make its position clear enough, or it is has made it known - privately at least - that it is keen for further approaches. ®

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