Bell Tolls for Excite as AT&T Pulls Asset Purchase

05 December 2001

Despite forging new contracts with some of its cable customers [WAMN: 04-Dec-01], bankrupt broadband provider Excite@Home has announced it will go out of business on February 28.

The statement follows the collapse of talks with AT&T, which was trying to purchase the internet firm’s network assets. The cable giant had offered $307 million, but Excite’s creditors reportedly wanted $1 billion [WAMN: 26-Oct-01]. There are not thought to be any other bidders.

Relations between the two soured at the weekend when Excite cut off its services from over 850,000 AT&T subscribers after the two failed to agree a new service contract [WAMN: 03-Dec-01].

A piqued AT&T said it had withdrawn from the purchase of Excite’s network business due to “a number of significant breaches and other violations of the agreement”, including Saturday’s disconnection. It added that it was shifting its broadband subscribers to its own network, and expected 80% to have access restored by Tuesday night.

Excite will see out the three-month contracts – collectively worth $355m – it has recently signed with other cable operators before ceasing operations. Two such cable firms, Comcast Corporation and Cox Communications, intend to build networks of their own to replace Excite when their contracts end.

News sources: BBC Online Business News (UK); Wall Street Journal