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Durlacher Launches ASP Infrastructure Play

London-based investment group Durlacher Corporation plc last week launched App-X, a new venture that will offer infrastructure development and services to the European ASP industry.

App-X will have initial funding of £10.6m ($16m), with private financial investors contributing £10 million for a 62.5% stake. Durlacher is providing £0.6m plus its own significant minority stakes in two existing ventures in return for a 37.5% stake, it announced Thursday (Jul 13th).

Initially constituted as a holding company, App-X plans to become an operating business by the end of the year. It is expected to achieve this through exercising an option to acquire full ownership of one of the companies, ASP Global, a systems integrator and developer specialising in ASP enablement.

The second venture is Copernicus, a billing systems ASP, in which App-X now holds a 30% stake acquired from Durlacher. App-X plans to acquire interests in other companies as it develops its portfolio of services.

ASP Global Ltd was established in Sep 1999, and provides specialist systems integration, software development, and ASP enablement services to network service providers and other ASPs. It has numerous customers across Europe, including British Telecom and Nortel Networks.

Copernicus Global Billing Services Ltd, founded Feb 2000, is building a major telco-grade billing platform to offer hosted billing services to ASPs, network operators and fixed and wireless content providers. It expects to recruit a number of major European telecommunications companies as customers.

"The App-X investment in ASP Global and Copernicus will build on the strong relationship that exists between ASP Global and Nortel Networks," commented Paul Brandwood, group director solutions marketing, Nortel Networks. "App-X will be able to develop and expand the unique, high quality support services that have been provided to Nortel Networks and our ASP customers."

Nortel Networks Corp is engaged in several European ASP projects, including the build-out of the infrastructure for high-profile German ASP startup EinsteiNet.

From its roots as a specialist City of London stockbroker, Durlacher (LSE ticker: DUC) has transformed itself into a research-driven investment group by tracking the new media and Internet sectors. Its decision to create App-X comes after 18 months spent tracking the emergence of the ASP market.

"We have quite a healthy knowledge of what's going on in the growing ASP sector," Durlacher analyst Richard Wendland told ASP-News this week.



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