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BSkyB to scoop up The Cloud in bid to rival BT wireless biz

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BSkyB is reportedly poised to buy wireless hotspot provider The Cloud later this week.

According to The Sunday Times (behind paywall), which is owned by Sky parent News Corporation, the broadcaster will announce the acquisition later this week.

The newspaper said that under the deal, Sky would offer its 2.8 million fixed-line broadband punters internet access away from home via The Cloud’s pay-to-access network in an effort to compete with BT’s existing on-the-move service.

Sky will post its latest results on Thursday, so presumably an announcement will be wrapped around those numbers.

The Cloud, which has deals with Pret a Manger, McDonalds and Marriott hotels, began life in 2003 and claims to connect three million laptops and smartphones to its network of 22,000 hotspots in the UK, Germany and Sweden each month.

The expected takeover comes some months after Sky agreed a deal for a management buyout of its Easynet networking business, which it bought in 2005 for £211m, ahead of its push into home broadband.

The Register contacted The Cloud for comment on the report, a spokeswoman told us: "We have no comment to make at the moment." All of which seems to suggest we can expect a statement later this week. ®

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