O2 is hungry. In 24 hours, the Spanish-owned mobile phone operator acquired "The Link" stores from Dixons and the high speed broadband provider Be.
Be has only acquired 10,000 customers since its launched 18 months ago, averaging between 40 and 50 new ones a day. Yet, O2 has forked out a whopping £50m for it (an average of £500 per customer).
Be's real value though lies in the fact that it owns its own Local Loop Unbundling equipment in more than 150 local exchanges (with more than 400 to be equipped soon) and therefore, makes it relatively independent from BT's own setup.
Although Be was relatively small and nimble, it is one of the larger LLU owners out there and has been an ADSL2+ pioneer.
By buying Be, O2 gets a ready made entry in the broadband world for a broadband service provider that has exciting growth opportunity.