BT flogs Eutelsat stake for £363m

To pay for Danon's leaving party?

BT is to flog its minority stake in satellite operator Eutelsat for £363m in cash.

GS Capital Partners 2000, an investment partnership affiliated with Goldman Sachs, is to buy BT's 15.8 per cent stake, the telco said today. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the financial year.

A spokesman said the money would "go into the pot". However, it's not known if "the pot" includes funding the leaving party for Pierre Danon, BT Retail's chief exec who announced his departure yesterday, or whether there will have to be a separate whip round.

Incidentally, earlier this week BT confirmed plans to wire up a further 1,000 of its exchanges to handle wholesale symmetric broadband (SDSL) services. The 1,000 exchanges will be picked based on demand and the number of small businesses hooked up to an exchange.

In January BT will announce the first 500 exchanges to get SDSL with a further 500 pencilled in for August. So far BT has tweaked 224 exchanges to handle SDSL.

SDSL - which enables data to be transferred upstream and downstream at the same speed - is particularly suitable for SMEs and home workers who need something a bit more gutsy than ADSL. ®

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