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Carphone Warehouse considers TalkTalk amputation

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Carphone Warehouse will suggest to investors it might spin off its TalkTalk ISP and home phone business, according to multiple reports today.

The firm is due to post interim results today, and has apparently whispered to the Sunday Times and others that a demerger will be raised as a possibility, although not an imminent one.

It's reckoned that TalkTalk accounts for about £1bn of the group's current £1.3bn valuation. CEO Charles Dunstone would be keen to maintain a stake in both companies if a split can be arranged, according to the Sunday Times' anonymous sources.

The spin provided to the papers is that two separate companies would be worth more to shareholders than the current retail-telco chimera. And without TalkTalk, Carphone Warehouse could concentrate better on its ill-timed expansion plan with US electronics superstore chain Best Buy, it's suggested.

The usual potential ISP buyers (Vodafone, Sky, O2) are being tossed around for TalkTalk by analysts. Given Tiscali's ongoing problems flogging its UK customer base and the economic climate, a sale is likely to be difficult. ®

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