Unisource linking up to AT&T in Europe


THE BID by KPN/Telia for a 35 per cent stake in Telecom Eireann appears to have been strengthened by an announcement that the grouping to which the two companies belong, Unisource, is to merge most of its European operations with AT&T.

The link between Unisource and AT&T's global network is central to the bid by KPN of the Netherlands and Telia of Sweden for the Telecom stake.

The announcement of a formal link between the two follows looser co-operation arrangements which have been in place for some time.

The merger will create a new company, AT&T-Unisource Services, which will be owned 60 per cent by Unisource and 40 per cent by AT&T.

It will have two divisions - communications services and multimedia and solutions. The other members of Unisource are Swiss Telecom and Telefonica of Spain.

The venture will have about 5,000 people in Europe and more than $1 billion in revenues. The two groups agreed to pursue joint research and development, common technology and services, joint billing and customer care.

Most of AT&T's European interests will be taken into the joint venture.