Home & Office

BT signals end of road for Concert

A tale of two telcos comes to an end...
Written by Graham Hayday, Contributor

A tale of two telcos comes to an end...

Concert, the ailing joint venture between BT and AT&T, will finally be put out of its misery tomorrow. The decision will end a long period of uncertainty for both companies and plug one hole in BT's finances: analysts believe Concert has cost BT as much as £500m since its launch in January 2000. But the split will not be without some considerable pain for the UK telco. Up to 2,500 jobs will go, and BT will be forced to write down the costs of Concert's assets, provide redundancy packages for those losing their jobs and withdraw from AT&T Canada, a company in which BT has a minority stake. The total costs could be as much as £500m, according to the Observer. The severity of the job cuts will come as a surprise. Just last month, BT chief executive Sir Peter Bonfield said that the bulk of Concert's employees would keep their posts once the long-awaited closure was announced. Concert currently employs 5,900 people in 60 countries, and at its peak was worth in the region of £1.4bn. It was a key part of BT's attempts to establish itself as a global player in the business telecommunications market, and was designed to give it an important foothold in the US. The winding down exercise is likely to be complex and take several months to complete.
Editorial standards