AOL UK Price Too High, Murdoch Says

Sky's CEO is interested in buying the Internet service provider, which has more than 2 million customers, many still on dialup

BSkyB CEO James Murdoch has revealed the company is in the race to buy AOL UK - but not at any price.

Speaking today at the launch of the company's broadband product, Murdoch confirmed Sky is considering buying the ISP. He said of the potential acquisition: "We would look at it from an opportunistic basis."

BSkyB is one of a number of broadband players, thought to also include BT, Carphone Warehouse and Orange, in the running to acquire AOL's UK arm, which has over two million customers, of which a sizeable proportion remain on dial-up.

The price could yet prove a sticking point. "We don't have a huge appetite for acquisitions in that space," Murdoch said. "At some price, it could make good sense but we haven't had enough information to understand what it is... We're not interested in paying high prices," he added. A figure of around €660m has been cited in press reports as a likely price tag for AOL's UK business.

Murdoch also said the company has no plans to follow in NTL:Telewest's footsteps and offer a mobile service to its customers.

"Our existing partnerships with network operators work very well for us... we are not interested in being a mobile network operator."

According to Murdoch, mobile doesn't fit with Sky's model of selling to households rather than individuals. "There's an uncomfortable marriage between mobile and broadband," he added.


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