UK News: Microsoft collects little for Telewest call

Microsoft has sold its interest in Telewest Communications for a fraction of what the software giant poured into the U.K. phone and Internet service provider. IDT Corporation bought Microsoft's stake for $5 million, a Microsoft spokesman said Wednesday. IDT is a telephone company that resells service from major providers such as MCI, WorldCom, Cable & Wireless and Qwest.

Microsoft purchased a 23 percent share of Telewest in 2000 in exchange for stock valued at $2.6 billion, according to the Microsoft spokesman. The company sold the stake after an "ongoing and regular analysis and realignment of investments," he said. According to its Web site, Telewest provides television, telephone and Internet service to 1.74 million homes in the U.K., plus voice and data telecommunications to 72,700 businesses. A Telewest spokesman could not be reached Wednesday for comment. The Telewest investment was among the several Microsoft made to gain a foothold in the high-speed communications market.

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