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BT Buys Into IT Again

Ray Le Maistre

9:00 AM -- The transition of major carriers from pure-play telecom players to integrated telecom/IT services firms continued this week as both BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and Norway's Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) announced targeted acquisitions. (See BT Buys IT Firm and Telenor Acquires Datametrix.)

BT, which appears to be paying a negligible price for German IT services specialists Stemmer and SND, has long been snapping up local integrators and IT services firms in the countries where it has large, multinational corporate customers, including Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.S., and across Latin America. It announced its intention to become an integrated IT/telecom services player as far back as 2003.

Let's walk down memory lane:

Telenor's acquisition is more substantial: It is paying 226 million Norwegian Kroner (US$45 million) for Datametrix Inc. , which provides "advanced IP-based communication solutions to the business market and public sector" in Norway. It has 136 staff and generated revenues of $79 million in 2007, when it managed a small profit before tax and other costs.

Other European carriers have also been investing in IT services capabilities. (See KPN Plans $1B IT Acquisition and Belgacom Buys Telindus.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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