Telco giant swoops for etailer as part of its “strategy to strengthen its online sales and service capabilities.”

BT in surprise purchase of

The UK technology retailing landscape has been dramatically altered today with the purchase of by BT. This marks a surprising move into the PC retail sphere by the former state telephony company.

In its press statement, BT said "To complement Dabs’ broad base of IT and technology products, BT will offer its full range of products and support services online – enhancing its position as a leading retailer of converged IT and communications products and services."

BT already has a sizeable presence in the corporate infrastructure market and this move is billed as an attempt to increase its reach in the small/medium business and consumer markets.

Last month BT announced a partnership with KeConnect, an ISP, which was designed to improve the penetration of its Wi-Fi in the small business and consumer markets. The two moves appear to be part of a general push by BT in this direction.

Bolton based Dabs has around a million consumer and business customers across the UK, as well as a small operation in France. In the year ended March 31, 2005, the company’s revenues were £180 million with gross assets valued at £42million.

Ian Livingston, chief executive of BT Retail, said: “Dabs is a dotcom success story and one of the best companies in its field.’s outstanding expertise will boost BT’s online power to sell innovative, value for money, communication and converged IT products. This purchase strengthens our online IT and digital products sales and service presence for small and medium-sized businesses as well as for consumer customers.”

Jonathan Wall, marketing director at, said: “This is a very exciting time. We are delighted with this development and we’re confident that this will prove to be rewarding to both our business partners and our customers. The combination of our expertise in online retailing together with BT’s brand and product and service heritage offers tremendous opportunities.”

The business now becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of BT.

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