Feeds

Virgin Media 'front runner' in Pipex bidding war

Ahead by a beard and some big teeth

Top three mobile application threats

Away from its high-profile battle with the Murdoch empire, Virgin Media is preparing to swallow second division ISP Pipex, according to reports.

An unattributed Daily Telegraph tip claims Virgin is the front runner in deal broker UBS' tender process, which closes on Friday. Pipex invited bids last week, following a review of the business instigated in January by chairman Peter Dubens.

BT is thought to have made another leading approach for Pipex. The David Hasslehoff-endorsed broadband outfit was linked to a BT takeover just over a year ago, which never completed. The rapidly consolidating broadband market means other top tier providers TalkTalk, Orange, and Sky have been put in the frame this time too.

If the sell-off goes ahead, the lucky suitor is expected to lay down about £335m, less than the £350m BT was said to be ready to pay last time round. Pipex has been hemorrhaging subscribers: in January 2006 it claimed more than 280,000, but just over a year on has shrunk to about 170,000, though it has bolstered that figure to 500,000+ with the acquisitions of Bulldog and Toucan.

A bigger attraction may be the national licence which has meant Pipex was set to be at the vanguard of rolling out WiMAX networks. As a holder of one of only two early passes, Pipex has been slow to capitalise however, announcing a second commercial trial of the service in Warwick this January. Other parties interested in WiMAX have been forced to await Ofcom's mooted spectrum auction, which was due to exit the consultation phase on 9 March.

For debt-ridden Virgin Media, skipping the auction would provide a fast and less cash-intensive route to broadening coverage than digging up roads. BT has said WiMAX will be key technology for its network convergence plan, but last time indicated it was willing to obtain a licence through processes other than a Pipex takeover.

All parties sniffing at Pipex are staying schtum this time round.

The takeover talk may not have done any harm to the price UBS can score for Pipex. At time of writing the firm's shares were trading up more than seven per cent, at a level last seen when talk of a takeover last did the rounds. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.