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BT buys PlusNet for CRM system

Telco is paying £67m to win a popular CRM platform and 200,000 new customers
Written by Richard Thurston, Contributor

BT is acquiring rival ISP PlusNet, which the former incumbent claims will provide technology to help improve its relationship with customers.

The deal, announced on Thursday and valued at £67m, sees BT gain 200,000 broadband customers, which includes 26,000 businesses. PlusNet is a Sheffield-based ISP which has won considerable praise for its WorkPlace platform, an intranet-based CRM system.

"We have ambitious growth plans. The more customers, the merrier," a BT spokesperson told ZDNet UK. "But it's not all about a customer landgrab. PlusNet has a 13 percent business base, and that's attractive to Bill Murphy [managing director of BT Business]. PlusNet also has WorkPlace, which is at the heart of providing industry-leading online customer service capabilities and dynamic network management."

BT's offer has been accepted by PlusNet's directors. It will retain the PlusNet brand, its Sheffield offices and its chief executive Lee Strafford. Strafford will report to BT's consumer managing director Gavin Patterson.

The two companies established a partnership two years ago to share technical knowledge on broadband development and marketing. "We have been impressed with the management team in the past, hence the reason for the acquisition," the BT spokesperson said.

But PlusNet has not always been viewed favourably by customers. In July, PlusNet lost 700GB of customers' emails after an engineer mistook a live server for a backup server. Following the disaster, the ISP promised to install a new storage platform.

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