Acquisition of European IP Puts it in 13 Nations

DENVER, Colorado — Qwest Communications International has entered the data market in thirteen European countries through the acquisition of the Internet provider EUnet for $154 million.

Amsterdam-based EUnet operates in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Romania and Estonia. Set up in 1982, the firm was one of Europe’s first Internet providers.

“The European data market is exploding to an estimated $55 billion by the year 2000. The Internet is the driving force behind this trend,” said Joseph Nachio, president of Qwest.

“EUnet has extensive Internet expertise and an understanding of Europe’s diverse national markets and regulatory issues,” he added.

“The liberalization of the European telecommunications market and our recently acquired transatlantic capacity combined with the EUnet acquisition, allow Qwest to provide business customers with high performance and cost effective data and Internet services between North America and Europe.”

Jim Ormand, EUnet’s chairman, said the merger would enable the company to diversify its operations in Europe.

“EUnet recognizes that the future of Internet usage rides on the ability to move large amounts of data and images quickly and without error,” said Ormand.

“Partnering with Qwest allows the two companies to capitalize on their expertise in IP data networking products and to leverage Qwest’s network infrastructure to deliver a leading edge American-European data strategy,” he added.

EUnet’s revenues in 1997 were approximately $55 million and this year are expected to reach over $75 million.

Qwest is a multimedia communications company building a high-capacity, fiber optic network. The company will fund EUnet’s recent acquisition of a 50 percent interest in X-link, a leading German Internet provider.

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