BT has demonstrated its decision to expand its presence overseas, by acquiring full ownership of Italian telco Albacom, in which it has held a 26% stake since 1995. According to the Financial Times, BT has bought the outstanding 74% from its three former partners – Eni, Banca Nazionale del Lavorno and Mediaset – for a minimum of GBP80 million (EUR116 million). If Albacom exceeds certain performance targets, BT will have to pay more, although the final price will not exceed four times Albacom’s EBITDA in the year to 2009. As part of the deal Albacom will provide the trio of former shareholders with communications services for at least the next five years, in a move which is expected to generate GBP150 million in annual revenues for the company. According to the BT press release, the deal will allow it to offer a seamless service to its customers in Italy, both domestically and internationally, taking full responsibility for products delivered on an end-to-end basis. Albacom customers will also benefit from having access to the full suite of BT products and services and its increased network based IT services.
Albacom is the second largest telco in the Italian business market, behind Telecom Italia, with an 11% share of the data services market at the end of September 2004. It provides data transmission, voice and internet services to more than 240,000 businesses, over a 7,600km fibre-optic network.
The buyout of its Italian partners is the latest in a string of purchases BT has made overseas. Just last month it acquired Infonet, the California-based corporate business services provider, and more recently has made known its interest in buying financial services connectivity provider Radianz from Reuters and France Telecom.