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Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
Listing for cyber cafe chain
Internet surfer
EasyEverything claims one million customers a month
Entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who brought mass market low-cost flying to Britain, is to float his chain of internet cafes, which has risen in value by ten times in a year.

The EasyEverything chain, which boasts one million customers a month at its nine European sites, is being prepared for a stock market listing in mid-2001.

The news heralds a drive to position EasyEverything as 'the McDonald's of internet cafes' with outlets around the world, company spokesman James Rothnie told BBC News Online.

The EasyEverything business model can easily be replicated in other parts of the world... it is just like McDonald's

James Rothnie, EasyEverything

The chain, which launched in June last year with a single cafe in London, plans to run 20 outlets by the end of the year and 60 by the end of 2001.

"The EasyEverything business model can easily be replicated in other parts of the world," said Mr Rothnie. "It is just like McDonald's in that way."

Asian expansion

While EasyEverything cafes are so far restricted to Europe, with a New York outlet opening this autumn, the firm sees particular scope in the Pacific Rim, Mr Rothnie said.

"In Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan the cafes would go down a storm," he told BBC New Online.

Stelios Haji-Ioannou
Stelios Haji-Ioannou: The future is orange

The firm is to use franchising to help it meet its global targets, and has already appointed its first franchising director.

The announcement comes weeks before the expected 800m flotation of EasyJet, the low cost airline which has carried more than ten million passengers since Mr Haji-Ioannou founded it.

And it follows a 25m cash injection from venture capitalists Apex Partners and computing giant Hewlett Packard.

Rocketing valuation

The valuation of EasyEverything, which was launched with backing of 10m, rose to 100m following the investment, Mr Rothnie said.

The exact timing of the flotation will be decided by the firm's future performance.

"It will happen when we have sufficient value to go to market," Mr Rothnie said. "We will have to instruct investment bankers, and it will be up to them to come up with a valuation."

Since opening its first cafe in Victoria, EasyEverything has launched four further sites in London plus outlets in Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Barcelona.

The cafes typically boast between 400 and 600 terminals, although EasyEverything claims its Amsterdam site, with 650 workstations, was the world's largest when it opened in June.

Record breaker

The New York outlet, in Times Square, will be equipped with 850 terminals.

The cafes are branded with the bright orange colour familiar to EasyJet passengers, and to those who have used the EasyRentacar vehicle chain.

Controversy surrounded the launch of the Rotterdam outlet after the Dutch communications giant KPN Telecom, with which EasyEverything had been in negotiations, launched its own internet cafe.

Mr Haji-Ioannou, whose management of EasyJet has been characterised by frequent and vocal attacks on British Airways, accused KPN of market abuse.

He in January proposed litigation, and threatened to put the Dutch telecoms giant out of business.

The matter was resolved following legal action.

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