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Dixons Confirms Freeserve IPO

Dixons Group Monday confirmed that it will float a minority interest in its highly successful Freeserve Internet service, following speculation last week that another ISP was attempting a takeover.

Dixons says that CreditSuisse First Boston and Cazenove & Co. will act as joint global coordinators of the offering and as joint brokers to Freeserve. A syndicate of banks has already been appointed to participate.

At the same time, Dixons announced the appointment of Nicholas Backhouse as CFO, who will join the company from ING Barings Ltd on July 1, and confirmed that David Melville is now company secretary and general counsel of Freeserve.

"This is a significant step in Freeserve's strategic development and represents an important opportunity to continue to build on the quality of content and services that have made Freeserve a leading UK Internet portal," said John Pluthero, CEO of Freeserve.

Back in April, Dixons appointed CreditSuisse First Boston and Cazenove & Co. to explore the various strategic alternatives for realising Freeserve's value to Dixons Group shareholders. With the confirmation of the IPO, Dixons' shares were up 44p (70c) to £12.33 ($19.73) midday on Monday.

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