Freeserve for sale? – report

Goodness...

Freeserve could be put up for sale in a bid to raise cash for its heavily indebted grandparent France Telecom.

That's according to a report by French newspaper, Le Figaro by way of Bloomberg, quoting union sources.

News that Wanadoo is considering flogging its Internet operations in the UK and Spain follows confirmation last week that Tiscali has shelled out €9.5m in new shares for Wanadoo Belgium and its 85,000 customers.

A spokesperson for Freeserve declined to comment on today's report, describing it as "rumour and speculation".

Last month Freeserve revealed that it had abandoned plans to change its name to Wanadoo to bring it in line with its parent even the move had originally been backed by Wanadoo chief exec Nicolas Dufourcq.

Freeserve had been keen to change its name and ditch the "free" handle that made it into a household name overnight.

The ISP said it decided not to proceed with the makeover because of a "huge strength of feeling for the Freeserve brand in the UK".

In light of today's story, the Freeserve brand would be something of huge importance if it wanted to find a buyer.

Today's report also talks of sweeping job cuts at France Telecom and Wanadoo. France Telecom has debts of €70bn and is being investigated by the European Commission over a €9bn Government loan.

France Telecom's Internet division, Wanadoo, bought Freeserve for £1.65bn in 2000. ®

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