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Vivendi to sell Scoot.com

So what's that BT buys Scoot news all about?

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Vivendi Universal is preparing to sell off Scoot.com, or rather the bit that it owns, according to Les Echos.

Vivendi has made a lot of disastrous investments in its time, but Scoot takes the cake. Mostly, Vivendi bought good assets for absurd prices. Scoot was different - a deadly dull Internet directory service that:

  • Raced its way through hundreds of millions of pounds of shareholder capital
  • Had hardly any customers. And fewer users
  • Did a fine line in increasingly feeble profits warnings

So how much did Vivendi lose? It's not easy to work out - but a couple of hundred million quid minimum looks likely. The company finally lost patience with the Scoot.com directors last year, but saved the business from collapse by buying the contintental European ops for €1 (and €92m debt!). It also took control of the intellectual property, licensing back the URL to the UK rump.

BT last week completed the £8m cash purchase of Scoot UK. Tomorrow it unveils its re-entry into the UK directories market, presumably using some Scoot technology.

At its peak, Scoot.com was valued on the London Stock Exchange at £2.5bn. Even at the height of dotcom madness, this was self-evidently absurd. ®

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