KPNQwest fire sale starts

Breaking up is never easy to do...

Breaking up is never easy to do...

eBone, the 25,000km European data network that KPNQwest acquired last March, is set for a sale to UK consortium Oakley Investors. While negotiations for the sale of KPNQwest's entire network have fallen through over recent weeks, Oakley is on the verge of signing an agreement with KPNQwest's administrators for eBone in Amsterdam today, a spokesman said. Graham Kinsey, spokesman for eBone's network operations centre (NOC) in Belgium, said: "The guys from Oakley have been to the NOC for a look around and are now on the plane to Amsterdam where they will talk to the administrators about a sale. It looks pretty good." Another source at eBone confirmed Kinsey's statement and said the team from Oakley had left the building and gone to the airport to head for Holland. A deal put forward by Dutch consortium Trimoteur for KPNQwest's entire network was snubbed by the banks last Friday after being given the all clear by the carrier's administrators in a meeting on Wednesday. A spokesman for Trimoteur, which last week put forward an offer of E60m (£36m) cash for KPNQwest's network, including eBone and E125m (£75m) to E150m (£90m) to settle some of its debts, said: "Our offer was very good. The administrators haven't received a bid anywhere near ours. We put in a figure based on the historical costs and assets of the company. "KPNQwest will definitely be split up now. The value of the company will go down because of that. The administrators can't expect to get more than 15 to 20 per cent of the value of our bid for KPNQwest now. They won't recover a lot of their money." No one from Oakley was available to comment.