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Shares in Telewest slipped seven per cent (0.5p) to 8.38p by mid afternoon following news that Microsoft had pulled three non-executive directors from the cableco's board.

Microsoft - which owns 23.6 per cent of Telewest's shares - said it had taken the decision because it believes it "will be in a better position to manage [its] relationship with, and investment in, Telewest without board representation."

Continued Microsoft in a statement: "Microsoft expects to continue to evaluate Telewest on an ongoing basis and, in that regard, will continue to consider, among other things, purchasing or selling Telewest securities or engaging in possible strategic transactions involving Telewest.

"Microsoft has no current plan regarding any such transactions, but reserves the right to change its plans at any time," it said.

While you're trying to figure that one out the move caused a flurry of speculation that the cableco might be about to do an NTL and try and swap its debt - all £5.3 billion of it - in return for equity.

If successful, such a move could pave the way for the often-talked-about merger between NTL and Telewest.

Whatever. But it looks suspiciously like Microsoft's out of it. ®

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