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BT and HP in $1.5bn back-scratching deal

'Mutual growth opportunities'

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BT and HP have confirmed a $1.5bn (£840m) deal that will see both companies work closer together to "address mutual growth opportunities in the global information and communications technology (ICT) marketplace".

Kicking off the new friendship, both companies have signed managed services agreements with a combined value of $1.5bn over the next seven years. As part of the deal, HP is to manage BT’s midrange and desktop IT infrastructure in the UK. In return, BT will manage HP’s voice and data network and product support call centres within the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.

Details of the alliance surfaced in March when it was suggested that as many as 800 staff could be transferred between the two companies as part of the deal.

Now, it seems that 280 BT workers are to shift to HP, while 43 workers will move from HP to BT.

Even so, communications union Connect remains dead against the transfer of staff. In March it said: "We see absolutely no justification for a TUPE (Transfer of Undertaking - Protection of Employment)."

Today, a spokesman for Connect said it was "disappointed that BT was going ahead with TUPE", before adding that, overall, the tie-up with HP was a good thing.

The Communications Workers Union (CWU) gave its thumbs-up to the new deal after winning assurances that staff would continue to receive the "full protection of their unions".

Announcing the deal, Carly Fiorina, HP chairman and chief exec said that "bringing together IT and communications into one seamless environment creates a solid foundation for growth".

BT boss, Ben Verwaayen, said: "In a consolidating industry, we believe it makes sense to create a strong alliance between a world-class communications company and a global IT company." ®

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