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KPN buys British leg of KPNQwest

As the dust settles around the failed networking giant, another piece of the joint venture has ended up with the Dutch parent company.

Dutch telecom group KPN has agreed to buy the British assets of its failed networking joint venture KPNQwest.

The KPNQwest network, once valued at $40.8 billion, went bankrupt earlier this year and was eventually shut down in July. Since then, KPN has bought parts of KPNQwest, including the Dutch network and a data center at The Hague. It is in talks to buy other assets in Belgium and an undersea link between Europe and the United States.

KPN, along with troubled U.S. phone operator Qwest Communications, set up KPNQwest just over three years ago. When the joint venture went bankrupt, KPN initially supported the fund set up to keep it in operation. When the operation was closed down, it moved to buy up assets in various European countries.

Because of the way KPNQwest was set up, the liquidation of assets was handled by a complex network of receivers in different European countries, hampering any efforts to deal with the network as a whole. The main asset KPN has bought from the company's U.K. administrators--for an undisclosed price--is a 310-mile fiber-optic network connecting London with Paris and Amsterdam. The whole KPNQwest operation once carried up to a quarter of European IP (Internet Protocol) traffic, and boasted customers including Hewlett-Packard and Dell Computer.

ZDNet UK's Peter Judge reported from London.