Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/07/30/bt_dismisses_163_8_billion/

BT dismisses £8 billion bid for local loop

Well, publicly at least

By Tim Richardson

Posted in Broadband, 30th July 2001 12:44 GMT

The consortium behind the £8 billion bid for BT's local loop network in the UK remains confident that BT hasn't walked away from the table.

Yesterday, Earth Lease Ltd - led by international investment bank Babcock and Brown, and US merchant bank, Chancery Lane Capital - confirmed weekend press reports that it had offered to acquire "BT's copper and fibre local loop access network in the UK and its associated workforce".

Although BT confirmed the story, the telco ruled out the offer, claiming that selling such a core asset would simply not make sense for the company.

However, a spokesman for Earth Lease told The Register that while BT may have dismissed the offer in public, behind the scenes the telco is still in communication with the consortium and "remains hopeful that substantive talks with the senior management of BT will commence in due course".

Earth Lease maintains its bid is serious and claims that if the acquisition goes ahead it will speed up the roll-out of broadband services in the UK.

BT has denied this, claiming that interest in local loop unbundling has slumped.

Both BT and Earth Lease deny that they leaked the story to the newspapers. ®