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BT’s secret plan for Dabs revealed?

Last week, we brought you news of a complete set of companies that were undergoing significant changes as a result of the UK market changing from 2010 to 2011. In a tough market, BT is looking at its brands and considering the toughest of decisions. KitGuru listens to the gossip and filters out one of the changes possible this year.

As each football season draws to a close, players head off for their individual combination of sunshine, bigamy and hair transplants. At the same time, back home in the boardroom, the real money conversations/decisions get made.

From the movement around Medion, Micro Direct, MESH and Cube 24/7, we can already see that this summer is turning into one of the most active ever seen in the ‘IT transfer market’. But is the biggest yet to come?

Bolton-based David Atherton Bruce Smith (DABS) was founded in the late 80s and it rapidly grew to revenues of around £200 million, and was sold to British Telecom (BT) in 2006 for £30m.

Skin-deep for now, but if BT sells DABS - then it could be very much different

Interestingly, BT split the company’s web site into a pair of (nearly) identical twins. Sure, there are some cosmetic differences, but if you search for the ‘Quick Link’ 6MC1N900 on DABS or BT, you get the same LG monitor – hardly coincidence.

So why do we believe it is possible that BT will sell off DABS?

Well, there’s no getting away from the fact that both BT and DABS have squeaky-clean/professional images. Which, for selling into businesses, is fine – but when it comes to selling hardcore gaming equipment etc into the UK’s combined Call of Duty/WOW/CS:Source audiences, it’s not such a draw. In terms of its business model, you could argue that DABS has been ‘out-DABS-ed’ by eBuyer, while at the same time BT has moved more and more into the serious end of online equipment supply.

How far has BT moved away from DABS-thinking ?   Let’s just say that you need to be a particular kind of sad +60 year-old suit to believe that graphic cards are a kind of storage [We’re not making it up, check the site – Ed].

You would need to be hardcore to search for a GTX580/6950 under 'storage'

So, there you have it. We think there is a chance of seeing the headline “BT sells DABS”, this side of Christmas.

If the company bought DABS for £30m originally, and has had the benefit of the brand, sales revenue, profits, learnings, customer list etc – then any sensible price would be a fine piece of business.

Likely suitors?  Hard to say – but there are very few companies who are big enough and local enough for this to make perfect sense. For no reason at all, here’s an AA map of the journey from DABS to Scan.

So, basically, it does not take long to drive from Dabs to Scan.

KitGuru says: Right now, this is pure speculation based on what we’re hearing from the industry, but the recent deviation in site structure etc has to be significant. Anyone who’s been around long enough, will remember Jungle selling out to Argos because the high-street giant wanted to make a big splash into the world of online selling. On that basis, anyone of the high-street brands (that’s feeling the pressure of the 21st century web economy) might be tempted to buy DABS. On the other hand, successful local companies who have a turnover in the region of £50m and wanted to increase it past £100m overnight – with additional local warehousing etc…  Well. You can imagine things as well as we can.

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