Mumbai: Carphone Warehouse, Europe's biggest mobile phone retailer, has agreed to buy the UK arm of Time Warner's AOL for £370 million. The deal will make Carphone the third largest provider of high-speed internet in the UK with around two million broadband customers.
The deal will give Carphone 2.1 million internet users, including 1.5 million of its own talk-talk customers hooked to broadband. AOL will continue to provide content on the web and manage online advertising, Carphone said.
Launched in the UK in 1996, ahead of Freeserve, AOL is one of the oldest internet providers in the UK and provided many British homes their first taste of the internet. Carphone, one of the first telecom operators in the UK to offer customers combined internet and telephone service, said the tie-up with AOL will save it money in relation to infrastructure and marketing. The company said it did not expect to be saddled with any costs relating to its broadband offer from next year.
Carphone said the group's total connections grew 34 per cent to 2.38 million in the three months to September 30 while subscription connections rose 16.3 per cent to 960,000. Carphone opened 66 stores in the second quarter to take the total to 1,921. It said it expected to open 300 new stores over the course of the year.
The AOL deal is expected to be completed by the year-end, subject to regulatory approvals, Carphone said.