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VIA NET.WORKS buys PSINet Europe

...but not UK

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PSINet UK is set to recruit new staff following the recent acquisition of the ISP's mainland Europe operations by VIA NET.WORKS Inc.

The deal, which is expected to be completed by the end of week, will see VIA taking over PSINet Europe's operations in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

PSINet Europe's UK operation is not part of the acquisition and will operate as a standalone business. Despite the upheaval, a spokeswoman for the UK ISP said it was "business as usual" for the company and its customers. PSINet UK - which serves some 3,500 SME and corporate punters - is looking to bolster its support operation, which should result in the creation of some jobs, she said.

Last week, VIA announced it had entered into definitive agreements with PSINet Europe BV - which has been controlled by the Israel Corporation Ltd since 2002 - to acquire the continental Europe operations of PSINet Europe for a maximum of €18m (£12m) subject to certain conditions.

With 4,000 customers in mainland Europe, generating EBITDA (earnings before interest etc) revenues of about €34m (£22.8m) a year, VIA reckons the deal will help increase its share of revenues from hosting services.

Said VIA's chairman, Michael McTighe: "The combination of the two groups is a compelling transaction, both strategically and financially. The PSINet Europe operations to be acquired support and enhance Via's business model and strategy, as well as our financial metrics, such as cash flow break-even."

Elsewhere, independent UK ISP Brightview - which has a stable of service providers including Freenetname, Totalise, Madasafish, IC24 and Totalserve and more than 300,000 broadband and dial-up users - has been acquired by communications services outfit Invox Plc for £25m. Of that, £8m is to be used to purchase the company, with the rest to repay loans from Brightview shareholders.

Invox currently has a database of around 3.5m home gamers to which it uses to market competitions. Invox will use this customer base to promote its newly acquired ISPs.

Said Invox chairman Stephen Hargrave: "This is a major step forward for us, moving us into a new high-growth market and providing us with a great opportunity to make the most of our database by marketing Brightview's products to our 3.5 million customers.

"Both companies generate large amounts of turnover for their telecommunications providers and we will also be keen to make the most of our combined purchasing power. We are doubly pleased that we have won such strong institutional backing for our placing in very difficult market conditions." ®

Related stories

PSINet Europe changes ownership
PSINet Europe mulls jobs cull
EC greenlights PSINet Europe sale
Brightview to move call centre to India

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