Tiny Online, the Internet service provider (ISP) owned by computer manufacturer Tiny, has been sold to Italian ISP Tiscali for &£8m.
Tiscali, the second largest ISP in Europe after Germany’s T-Online, has been on an ISP buying spree in recent months. Other UK purchases include LibertySurf, LineOne and WorldOnline. It also bought Spain’s Inicia and Belgium’s Yucom this week.
Tiny Online was launched in March 1999 and quickly expanded to take in 700,000 subscribers. It offered a number of different pricing tariffs, ranging from &£8.99 a month to &£14.99 a month for unmetered access.
Tiscali claims its purchase of Tiny will bring its UK customer base up to 2.5 million, which would put it ahead of Freeserve’s 2 million users.
Existing Tiny Online customers will keep the Tiny name in their e-mail accounts, but the overall service will be rebranded when Tiscali officially takes over in October.
Tiny says it sold its ISP arm so that it could concentrate on its core business of computers. It says Tiscali’s resources will be good news for existing Tiny Online customers.
Online computer sales through Tiny’s other website, Tiny.com, have experienced a big jump, the company claims, with an annual growth rate of 100 per cent. It has broadened its product range with the introduction of digital devices aimed at the home entertainment market. Tiny Online’s staff will be redeployed to Tiny.com, so there should be no job losses.
Tiny will continue to pre-load its PCs with its ISP software – rebranded Tiscali – in an exclusive distribution deal.