Microsoft this week cut its losses and fled Telewest Communications, the debt-beset British based US cable operator in which it bought a 23.6% stake not quite three years back.

According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the software titan unloaded its holding for just $5 million in cash to ITD Corporation, a collector of distressed investments. The original acquisition cost $2.6 billion (€2.22bn; £1.59bn) in Microsoft shares.

Telewest shares stood at £2.09 on the London Stock Exchange Wednesday, 99% down from their high in March 2000 – some three months before Microsoft bought its stake.

But the holding was strategic rather than fiscal, Microsoft hoping to use it to shoehorn its interactive TV, internet and e-commerce software into an indifferent market.

Data sourced from: Seattle Post Intelligencer; additional content by WARC staff