Mobilcom to Sell Freenet to Finance UMTS

[Berlin, GERMANY] According to a newspaper article, the
telecommunication provider Mobilcom is planning to
sell its subsidiary, the ISP Freenet. As the London
Financial Times (FT) reported in its Wednesday edition, the
proceeds are intended to finance the recently
purchased UMTS license. Mobilcom has already
commissioned banks with the sale of its 77 percent share of
Freenet according to the British economic paper. In
mid-August, Mobilcom and its partner France Telecom
acquired a UMTS license for DM 16.5 billion.

“FT” reports that France Telecom has already expressed
interest. The French company, which already owns 28 percent
of Mobilcom, has the option to purchase additional
assets which would include Freenet.de.

It has been difficult for Freenet.de to compete with
T-Online, Europe’s biggest Internet portal, and AOL
Europe. The company has a customer base similar to
Germany.de, a branch of the British company Vodafone.
But despite Freenet.de being one of the largest
service providers in Germany, it is only the tenth
most preferred portal. This was determined by surveys
conducted by the market research group MMXI. Analysts
say that every big European Internet company such as
T-Online, the Italian company Tiscali, Spain’s Terra
Networks and Wanadoo, France Telecom’s portal, could
be interested in acquiring Freenet.de. “Freenet.de is
attractive because its buyer would acquire a large
basis of Internet subscribers,” said Melissa Earlam,
analyst at UBS Warburg London.

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