Excite is to merge all its non-US assets with Chello, the European
broadband service provider owned by UPC, creating a euro5.5 billion
(pounds 3.5 billion) company.
The news ends months of speculation about the future of Chello, which
earlier this year postponed an initial public offering on the Amsterdam
stock exchange, saying it was in talks with potential strategic
The company will be called Excite Chello and will be led by Roger Lynch,
the chief executive of Chello. A supervisory board will be co-led by
George Bell, the chairman of ExciteAtHome, and Mark Scheider, chairman
Excite Chello will position itself as an international broadband
internet group with access to high-speed internet links in Europe,
Japan, Latin America and Australia. The two companies claimed that
together they offer the largest cable footprint outside North
Under the terms of the deal, ExciteAtHome and the European cable
operator United Pan-Europe Communications will be the major shareholders
in the company. Each will invest euro100 million in the venture.
The media group Liberty Media will also be a shareholder in the business
following its decision to make a euro200 million investment in the
company. It took a controlling stake in UPC’s parent company, United
Globalcom, earlier this month.
Excite Chello will have exclusive rights to deliver broadband internet
services to more than 30 million cable homes, and set-top box services
to more than 10.5 million homes with cable.
It is understood that Excite will need to get clearance from its joint
venture partners before closing the deal.