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Monday, 2 July, 2001, 07:22 GMT 08:22 UK
BT 'to ditch Concert'
British Telecom graphic
British Telecom is set to scrap its loss making joint venture with US telecoms firm AT&T, according to newspaper reports.

Concert - which is reported to be running up losses of up to 20m a week - was founded in order to cash in on the synergies between large corporate customers in London and New York.

But the three-year partnership has failed to live up to expectations and has added to BT's burden of debt rather than helping to revive its fortunes.

BT is in the middle of wide-reaching reforms aimed at cutting its debt mountain.

The company has recently closed a 5.9bn rights issue and agreed in May to demerge its BT Wireless division.

Substantial overlaps

BT has admitted that a break-up of Concert is under consideration, but said that no final decision has been made.

The chairmen of the two companies are reported to have met in London to discuss the future of Concert on Friday.

It is less than a year since the heads of the two firms discussed contributing more assets in order to expand the business services unit.

Concert reported a loss of 89m in the first three months of the year.

Substantial overlap with other divisions of both BT and AT&T also targeting business has been highlighted as one of the problems of Concert.

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