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Monday, June 7, 1999 Published at 07:06 GMT 08:06 UK

Business: The Company File

Dixons to float Freeserve

Freeserve has spawned a host of imitators

Dixons, the UK's leading electrical retailer, is planning to float a minority stake in its Freeserve Internet Service on the stock market.

The decision follows a review by Credit Suisse First Boston and Cazenove, Dixons' financial advisers.

[ image: The success of Freeserve has helped Dixons' share price to rocket]
The success of Freeserve has helped Dixons' share price to rocket
Freeserve chief executive John Pluthero said: "This is a significant step in Freeserve's strategic development and represents an important opportunity to continue to build on the quality of content and services that have made Freeserve a leading UK Internet portal."

Freeserve, which offers a free Internet connection and content pages, has been a roaring success since it was launched in September.

It has become the largest Internet service provider in the UK with more than 1.5m subscribers and internet analysts have valued the entire operation at between £500m and £2bn. .

Simon Gompertz: Freeserve will have to persuade prospective investors that it can make money
It has also spawned a host of imitators, with banks, supermarkets, BT and even the UK's top-selling tabloid newspaper The Sun following its example.

Granada joins Internet fray

Granada Group is the latest firm to announce plans to venture into the Internet business with the launch of, a new free entertainment isp.

It will offer free and exclusive access to a wide range of content, with Granada investing £30m in new content for the ISP, including new Coronation Street Confidential and Emmerdale Exclusive online services on the company's top rated TV soaps.

G-wizz will also offer an online education subscription and pay-per-view service and an e-commerce platform selling Granada media products such as videos, music CDs and CD-roms.

It will be launched with a promotion offering users the chance to win £250,000.

Granada Media Group chief executive Steve Morrison said "G-wizz will not just be an internet portal. Users will get exclusive access to what we call 'sticky content' - engaging and enjoyable entertainment, education and regional services they cannot get elsewhere."

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