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Murdoch gets Easynet

Pays £211m for 'triple play'

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BSkyB has agreed to shell out £211m to acquire broadband ISP Easynet in a deal that catapults the satellite broadcaster into the UK's telecoms sector.

The deal, which still needs shareholder approval, gives BSkyB the opportunity to offer its punters the all important "triple play" of TV, phone and internet in a move to rival merging cablecos NTL and Telewest.

And with such a powerful brand and marketing machine as BSkyB, the acquisition of Easynet - a local loop unbundling (LLU) ISP - will also ruffle feathers at BT.

In a statement today BSkyB said that the acquisition of Easynet would give it "an established presence in UK broadband" and a "leading position" in LLU.

Indeed, Easynet has already installed its kit in 232 local telephone exchanges enabling it to offer services direct to end users and cutting out BT. It has plans to increase the number of unbundled exchanges and to offer "differentiated and innovative products" to end users.

BSkyB's chief exec James Murdoch: "Today's offer reflects the exciting opportunities that now exist to combine quality entertainment with significant high-speed connections.

"We see value for families in moving well beyond just another triple play to offer a new level of connected entertainment and communications services," he said.

BSkyB's interest in broadband surfaced last week and was confirmed on Monday when Easynet said it had been approached by a potential bidder. ®

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