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Last Updated: Monday, 27 September, 2004, 22:57 GMT 23:57 UK
Claranet signs latest ISP deal
Computer user
Claranet has made a series of acquisitions in recent years
Consolidation among UK internet service providers continues apace with Claranet acquiring the UK operations of US firm VIA Net.Works for 7.3m (10.7m euros).

One of the UK's few remaining independent ISPs, Claranet will gain 20,000 new customers as a result of the deal with the Nasdaq-listed firm.

Founded in 1996, Claranet provides web hosting, broadband and other services in the UK, France, Spain and Germany.

The acquisition is the 12th deal in the sector in the past two years.

Further deals

A flurry of transactions since Wanadoo's acquisition of Freeserve at the end of 2000 have seen leading telecoms operators snap up many independent firms.

Claranet has itself made a series of acquisitions, including last year's purchase of Netscalibur.

Chief executive Charles Nasser said Claranet had been attracted by VIA's strong cash flow and customer mix.

Further takeovers were likely in the sector, Mr Nasser said, although he stressed that Claranet would be proceeding with caution.

"We have grown this business very carefully over a long period of time and we will continue being cautious."

"We expect to see more transactions," he said. "We feel there are a few companies which are worth acquiring."

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