The former incumbent telecom group for East Yorkshire, KCOM Group, has agreed to be acquired by a pension fund.

The deal is being recommended for approval by KCOM’s shareholders, and will see the telecoms group be acquired for £504m by Humber Bidco Ltd (part of the Universities Superannuation Scheme), which is one of the largest principal private pension schemes for universities in the UK.

For historical reasons, KCOM enjoys an almost near-fixed line monopoly in East Yorkshire, centred around Hull, which is not served by BT, hence its famous white telephone boxes.

Agreed sale

Ever since the telecoms network under the Post Office morphed into BT, Hull always remained separate and in 1904 launched as the Hull Telephone Department, owned by the local council. In 1987 it became known as Kingston Communications.

It was renamed to KCOM in 2007, when the council sold its remaining stake in the business.

This meant that KCOM was responsible for the rollout of superfast broadband in the city and surrounding area of East Yorkshire.

Unlike BT, which uses fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) for the majority of its superfast broadband rollout, KCOM mostly used fibre to the premise (FTTP) for its 140,000 customers, which delivered speeds of up to 250Mbps for consumers and 1Gbps for businesses.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in mid-2019, subject to shareholders at KCOM backing the sale.

The news comes after it mooted a few months ago that Virgin Media was considering purchaing KCOM.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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