TalkTalk is a value-priced UK broadband and fixed line telecoms provider. It was created by mobile retailer Carphone Warehouse in 2003 from the acquisition of a string of specialist fixed line voice services including Opal Telecom, OneTel and the UK operations of Tele2. The bolt-on of AOL's UK internet access operations in 2006 and struggling ISP Tiscali three years later established TalkTalk as a major player in broadband services, now the local #4 after BT, Sky and Virgin Media. By early 2020, it had 4.2m customers, more than half of them on fibre connections. Like other broadband resellers, it is currently largely dependent on BT's infrastructure, but has given its backing to the launch of its own fibre cable network. The Tiscali deal also gave the business an initial foothold in cable TV services, and it has continued to expand this offer as a "value for money" competitor in non-subscription on-demand services. At the beginning of 2015, the group acquired Tesco's Blinkbox streaming service. Until recently, TalkTalk also offered an MVNO mobile service latterly through O2. It took the decision to quit this business in 2017 to focus its attention on broadband services. TalkTalk was spun off as an independent company in 2010, though Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone remains executive chairman and has a 30% stake in the business. Talk Talk CEO Dido Harding was ennobled in 2014, becoming Baroness Harding of Winchcombe. A year later the company suffered an aggressive cyber attack that resulted in the theft of personal information for all its customers. Harding stepped down in early 2017 and was replaced as CEO by Tristia Harrison. Revenues for the year to March 2020 were £1.6bn, with a net profit of £153m. In Dec 2020, TalkTalk agreed to recommend to its shareholders a takeover offer from private equity investor Toscafund, that valued the business at £1.1bn, or £1.8bn including its debt.
Capsule checked 23rd December 2020
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Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Oct 2015: UK broadband and telecoms company Talk Talk was the victim of a "significant and sustained" cyber-attack in which personal and credit card information was stolen for an unknown number of the company's 4.2m customers. The hackers appear to have been especially aggressive and fast-moving. Days later, Talk Talk CEO Dido Harding received a ransom request, apparently from the hackers, and a number of customers claimed to have been contacted by phone by individuals purporting to be from Talk Talk. They were persuaded to provide remote access to their computers - supposedly to allow a fix to their router - and scammers were then able to access their bank accounts and other personal data. That has opened Talk Talk up to significant claims for compensation, though the company has said that it would be impossible for customers to lose any money purely from the data that was stolen. In perhaps the most startling development in the case, a 15 year-old Irish boy was arrested in connection with the attack, and has been released on bail.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Jan 2015: Tesco's recently appointed CEO Dave Lewis announced a string of new developments to boost performance. The store pulled out of the streaming media market, selling its loss-making Blinkbox service to telecoms group TalkTalk for around £5m. The Blinkbox brand will be discontinued, and TalkTalk will migrate Tesco's 75,000 broadband customers into its existing service.
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