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LineOne was launched in March 1997 as a joint venture between British Telecom and Rupert Murdoch's News International, placing emphasis on its role as a content provider. In March 1998 United News & Media bought a 33% stake in the venture for an undisclosed amount. In March 1999, News International sold out of LineOne to concentrate on its in-house Internet strategy, leaving BT and United News with 50% each.

LineOne has 1.4 million registered subscribers and gets 70 million page hits a month. LineOne is now up for sale and analysts estimate that LineOne is worth about 340 million ($490 million).

However, LineOne was in the limelight in early 2000 when its customers were deprived of the unmetered internet access service with telco Quip after just four months. The ISP is targeting busy 30 to 45 year-olds with content-rich access to the Internet. LineOne's chief executive Andy Harwood left in November 2000 to join e-marketing startup, eVerger.

Commentators suggest that LineOne is seen by its two owners as being too small to survive on its own. The decision to put their unprofitable Internet joint venture up for sale comes at a time when both companies want to focus on their other businesses also.


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