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O2 gobbles up O2 Unify staff from dying UK IT giant 2e2

107 workers tossed a lifeline in the nick of time

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Mobile operator O2 has grabbed staff from O2 Unify, a joint-venture it ran with the UK's crashed tech giant 2e2. The team was put together by the pair of companies nearly two years ago.

This is the first element of 2e2 that its administrator FTI Consulting has been able to sell. It comes a day after the fallen tech integrator continued to wind down by laying off 600 staff.

Some 107 workers in "key service and support" roles will transfer from debt-crippled 2e2 to mobile network O2, the UK arm of Telefonica, as it brings customer services and other operations in-house.

"We now have a truly unified approach to enterprise ICT, from IT security to fixed data networks. We see mobility at the core of our customers' ICT strategies," said O2 business director Ben Dowd. "During this transitional period we will be focused on ensuring there is no disruption to the services our customers receive."

The mobile carrier launched the O2 Unify joint-venture, based in 2e2's Slough office, in April 2011 to provide a range of tech and communications services to customers.

It claimed at the time that O2 Unify would house 500 staffers from both organisations, and the business would be headed by Paul Osborne, O2's head of professional and managed services.

No separate legal entity was ever incorporated so O2 needed to move quickly to keep its systems running following 2e2's collapse last month. FTI is now seeking buyers for 2e2's data centres and IT service desks after talks with suitors wishing to snap up the entire UK operation failed.

Discussions with interested third parties for 2e2's international businesses have also started. ®

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