Subscribers could lose out in Pipex sale

David Hasselhoff was the face of Pipex's recent advertising campaign

Few seem to still be in the takeover hunt for über-ISP, telco and webhost Pipex . The company, which owns brands such as Bulldog and registrar 123-reg , has been up for sale for several weeks.

If a takeover does happen, subscribers are sure to feel the winds of change as accounts are switched to a new owner.

This week's Mail on Sunday alleged that BT had followed Sky and Virgin Media in pulling out of the running. Orange and Tiscali are other names mentioned in relation to the sale. However, The Times has reported that BT is merely awaiting regulatory approval to make an offer.

It seems would-be purchasers have been deterred by the somewhat hotchpotch make-up of Pipex, which is itself the result of several acquisitions. That aside, there are obvious advantages for a buyer in terms of a large additional customer base to flog other services to.

Aside from BT, it seems Carphone Warehouse remains the only serious name interested in acquiring the company's 1.1 million voice and broadband customers.

Carphone seems to have made a low offer for the company to test the resolve of Pipex's board. However, the mobile phone retailer issued a profit warning last week, so the company will have to stay low. The company will be most interested in Pipex's Bulldog arm as the company is similar to its own Talk Talk, which itself has over two million UK subscribers.

Bulldog had a customer base of around 80,000 when it was transferred to Pipex for a fee of around £100 per customer. Pipex originally thought it was getting 110,000 users when it was prepared to pay around £12.5 million to Cable & Wireless for the company, but it appears 30,000 left.

It appears the customer deficit arose after Bulldog struggled to cope with the increase in customer numbers when it became one of the first to offer a complete telecoms service to customers - involving the transfer of lines from BT.

Bulldog gained a reputation for poor customer service and was even the subject of an Ofcom probe.


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.