Tiscali buys German ISP Interkom

Continuing its European expansion, Italy’s Tiscali SpA agreed to acquire German ISP (Internet service provider) Planet-interkom for 77.1 million euros (US$68.4 million) in cash and stock, the company announced Thursday.

The takeover of Planet-interkom, the ISP business of German mobile phone operator VIAG Interkom GmbH & Co, will add about 685,000 active Internet users to Tiscali’s user base, bringing the total active Tiscali users in Germany to 1.2 million, Tiscali said in a news release.

Tiscali, which has set a goal to become Europe’s largest Internet company, said the Europe-wide active-user base will grow to six million as a result of the acquisition. The company said it is number two in Europe, behind T-Online International AG of Germany, and claims to be the fourth-largest ISP in Germany in terms of active users.

Planet-interkom is the third ISP in Germany to be taken over by the Italian Internet company since early last year. In February 2000 Tiscali bought Hamburg-based ISP Nikoma Beteiligungs GmbH for 270 million euros, followed by AddCom AG in December in a deal valued at about 29 million euros.

VIAG Interkom, partly owned by British Telecommunications PLC, has decided to focus on mobile communications and thus divest Planet-interkom, Tiscali said. The mobile operator will hold an interest of 1.2 per cent in Tiscali and both companies have agreed to explore the possibilities of cooperation, Tiscali said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Tiscali will pay VIAG Interkom 15 million euros in cash as well as 4.14 million new Tiscali shares for Planet-interkom.

Tiscali, in Cagliari, Italy can be reached at http://www.tiscali.it/. VIAG Interkom, in Munich, can be reached at http://www.viaginterkom.de/.