Manchester-headquartered retail and catalogue giant Great Universal Stores, which in January pumped the oxygen of hard cash into asphyxiating ISP [WAMN: 9-Jan-01], is to relaunch the unmetered internet access service, withdrawn last year as the ISP drained its cash reserves.

Having acquired Breathe’s assets and technology from administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers for just £1.4m, GUS took no responsibility for its debts, leaving the estimated 50,000 subscribers to the ISP’s umetered service whistling for their £50 lifetime fee.

GUS is expected to charge around £15 per month for the restored service but has made no mention of concessions to Breathe’s army of consumer creditors.

The portal now portrays itself as “a dotcom survivor” and is optimistic that it can become a top five ISP and a top twenty portal within the next 12-15 months. It also plans to resume its heavy adspend.

Under the aegis of GUS, Breathe’s future is rosier than its chequered past believes director Sean Gardner: “Rather than a bunch of people who invest money to make a quick return which is the nature of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, I guess, we have a business now that is maybe taking a longer-term strategic view.”

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)