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Pipex buys Caudwell's fixed line phone biz

One million punters and counting

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Pipex has bought fixed line business Homecall from telecoms tycoon John Caudwell adding more than 500,000 phone punters to its existing customer base.

Coupled with its existing broadband, voice and hosting business Pipex now has more than a million punters giving it ample opportunity to sell multiple services to its expanding customer base.

And since the operator is already investing in local loop unbundling (LLU), the increased numbers of punters connected to each unbundled exchange should make this investment even more cost effective.

As part of the deal Pipex has also secured a distribution deal with retail outlet Phones4u, which is also part of the Caudwell empire.

Financial details behind the deal were not disclosed although Pipex did cop for £43m of bank debt which it has already paid. Last year Caudwell Communications - which is behind the Homecall brand - generated £91.4m in revenues and made a pre-tax loss of £34.7m, although the firm is now reportedly making a profit.

Said Pipex chairman Peter Dubens: "In terms of scale, we will now have over one million customers in the UK across broadband, voice and hosting, further consolidating our position as a major player in the broadband market. Pipex traditionally sells over the internet and the acquisition brings significant call centre sales expertise and importantly access to high-street footfall through a distribution agreement with Phones4u.

Last autumn Caudwell put his fixed line business up for sale but then put that on hold following a decision to flog his entire phone empire, which includes mobile phone retailer Phones4u, fixed line outfit Caudwell Communications, and mobile handset and accessories distributors 20:20 and Dextra.

The sales of the rest of Caudwell's business is imminent, according to recent reports. ®

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