Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/12/01/your_sale/

Your Communications up for sale

Their Communications could be Yours

By Tim Richardson

Posted in Financial News, 1st December 2005 15:38 GMT

Your Communications - the telco that's part of United Utilities (UU) based in the North West of England - is definitely up for sale.

Speculation about the future of the company has circulated for months. Last summer, for instance, it was linked to a possible take-over by The Carphone Warehouse.

At the time a spokeswoman for UU told us that the company was looking at a "variety of strategic options for Your Communications" adding that the utility did not regard Your Communications as "an integral part of its core business" and would "look to exit the business at a point in time when shareholder value can be maximised".

That time appears to now.

Like many others in the industry, Your Communications is facing the big squeeze in the telco sector and is battling against "intense pricing pressures and sustained excess capacity". At the same time, it's seeing telcos being bought and sold on an almost weekly basis and wants a slice of the action.

Or as outgoing UU chief exec John Roberts said today: "We have recognised for some time that consolidation of the telecoms sector has been overdue, and we are now seeing evidence of deals being done. [It is] our view that the interests of our telecoms business are best served by its participation in the current round of consolidation in its industry through a sale process."

In preparing to flog Your Communications - which offers voice, data and mobile services to the public sector and SMEs predominantly in the Midlands and North of England - UU is taking a hit on the value of the business and halving the net asset value to around £98m.