U.K.'s Atlantic Telecom to Buy First Telecom

LONDON (04/27/2000) - Scotland-based Atlantic Telecom Group PLC is buying First Telecom Group PLC for 520 million pounds (US$820 million) worth of newly issued Atlantic stock, the company announced today.

Furthermore, Atlantic Telecom today launched a high-speed data service, as well as its own ISP (Internet service provider), called atlantic-e.com, the telecommunications company said in statement.

Residential customers will be charged around 50 pounds per month for unlimited telephone calls and Internet service, with the cost for business users starting at 100 pounds, Atlantic Telecom said. Significantly, the flat rate pricing for telephone calls would be a first in the U.K.

The new services are part of the rapid expansion of Atlantic Telecom that included the acquisition of the U.K.-based First Telecom, a provider of Internet and telephone services in the U.K., France and Germany, the company said. The merger will also provide Atlantic with ADSL (asymmetrical digital subscriber line) Internet services to add to its fixed wireless and fiber optic cable services, Atlantic said.

Along with the merger announcement, Atlantic has also agreed to a fiber cable-swap partnership with Metromedia Fiber Networks BV and AboveNet UK Ltd.

According to the terms of the deal, Atlantic will receive a fiber presence in 16 European cities, including in Germany, the company said.

The companies did not disclose any of the financial terms for the partnership.

Atlantic will give Metromedia bandwidth capacity (two dedicated wavelengths) on its U.K. national network, the company said.

Under the agreement with First Telecom, that company's shareholders will own 29.7 percent of the expanded Atlantic based on Atlantic's closing price yesterday, valued at 1.14 billion pounds, or 77 pence per share, the company said.

Atlantic Telecom, in Aberdeen, Scotland, can be contacted at +44-122-445-4000, or at http://www.atlantic-telecom.co.uk/. First Telecom, in London, can be contacted at +44-207-532-7700, or at http://www.first-telecom.com/.

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