Liquidators of bankrupt carrier KPNQwest NV are now mulling over 40 bids for all or part of the 25,000 km network under pressure to come up with a quick decision.
AT&T Corp remains favorite to buy up the network and while a team from the company has investigated details of its asserts it has stayed silent over its plans. However, an assorted collection of carriers and investment groups have disclosed ambitions to buy the company.
UK-based pan-European telco Interoute Telecommunications Ltd, which has completed a $1.2bn pan-European fiber-optic network, confirmed that it had put in a bid for the rings around major Western European cities. Chairman Jim Kinsella said he was in daily negotiations for the metropolitan rings with KPNQwest's bankers.
A consortium headed by Dutch venture fund Trimoteur said it had put in a "comprehensive" offer for the network with speculation in the Netherlands suggesting its bid is worth "a few hundred million euros".
Urgency has crept into the situation because the French administrator may sell the local assets separately, and Swedish carrier Telia AB is understood to have put in a bid of around 10m euros ($9.9m). However, sale of the French assets would leave a hole in the network that would make the remaining assets less attractive so the Dutch administrators are trying to conclude a quick deal.