LONDON (Reuters) – British broadband supplier TalkTalk (TALK.L) said it had agreed to sell its fiber network, which initially built ultra-fast connections in the northern city of York, to Goldman Sachs-backed CityFibre for 200 million pounds ($260 million).
TalkTalk said it had agreed a wholesale agreement with CityFibre for its residential and business customers in the areas in which it builds networks, a deal that would help underpin the fiber network operator’s expansion.
TalkTalk started laying its own fiber optic cables in a trial, initially with broadband rival Sky, to challenge national operator BT (BT.L), which had been criticized for dragging its heels in building its own fiber-to-the-premises networks.
It created a new company called FibreNation in 2018, which had ambitions to build a network serving 3 million premises.
The sale of FibreNation to CityFibre was delayed late last year when the opposition Labour Party pledged to nationalize BT’s Openreach network if it won a December election, a move that would have upended the broadband market. The threat was removed with a decisive victory by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.
TalkTalk Chief Executive Tristia Harrison said the deal was good for TalkTalk and for Britain and its full-fiber ambition.
“The sale of FibreNation to CityFibre, in combination with a competitive wholesale agreement, enables us to continue our strategy to accelerate TalkTalk’s fiber growth for our residential and business customers, thereby delivering a superior customer experience at an affordable price,” she said.
The price was in line with media reports.
TalkTalk’s shares were flat at 0802 GMT.
Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by James Davey and Kate Holton