BSkyB, BT circle with Brit ops in play
Rupert Murdoch-controlled satcaster BSkyB and telco BT are mulling bids for AOL’s U.K. Internet access arm.
Time Warner has hired Citigroup to evaluate options for AOL’s European business, which could involve selling off its broadband operations in certain countries.
AOL is the U.K.’s third-largest broadband provider, with 2.2 million customers. But fierce competition and price-cutting has led Time Warner to consider putting the business up for sale.
BSkyB entered the broadband market last year, paying £211 million ($388.4 million) for Easynet, and is expected to launch its own branded Internet service this fall.
BT, already Blighty’s biggest broadband provider, is planning to offer an entertainment service to subscribers this fall.
Preliminary declarations of interest in buying AOL U.K. were due Sunday. TW is reportedly hoping to get $1.9 billion, but bidders are more likely to offer in the region of $1 billion.