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January 12, 2006

Sky nears completion of Easynet purchase

The transformation by UK satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc into a triple-play provider is almost complete following its announcement that it has acquired 96% of Easynet Group Plc's shares.

By CBR Staff Writer

Last October BSkyB announced it was to purchase the UK broadband service provider for 211m pounds ($373m). Now that BSkyB has reached a 96% shareholding, it is to purchase the remaining shares under compulsory purchase procedures. Earlier this month, the UK’s Office of Fair Trading approved the takeover.

The acquisition is part of BSkyB’s triple play (telephone, broadband, and pay TV) expansion strategy. Earlier this week, BSkyB launched a broadband service allowing its customers to legally download films from the internet.

Sky by Broadband provides 200 movies free to existing Sky digital subscribers, although they must have a broadband connection and a PC using Microsoft Windows XP. Sky Sports subscribers will also be able to download sports clips through the broadband service.

The satellite broadcaster also announced the launch of Sky by Mobile, which will provide news and sport content to customers’ mobile phones. This mirrors a similar service already being offered by Vodafone Group Plc on its 3G network.

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