Football club survives after BT buys TNS

A technology company best known as the powerhouse of Welsh football was taken over by BT today.

A technology company best known as the powerhouse of Welsh football was taken over by BT today.

The telecoms firm bought Total Network Solutions (TNS), whose team is top of the Welsh Premiership and played European champions Liverpool earlier this season in the Champions League.

Although BT will not take over the football club, which will be renamed Llansantffraid and Oswestry Town FC next season, today’s deal has secured enough funding for it to survive. It is not known how much BT will pay for TNS.

The club was set up with the merger of Llansantffraid and Oswestry Town in 1997 and was sponsored by TNS, who specialise in computer networks and whose clients include Abbey National and British Airways.

It plays its home games at the Recreation Ground, usually known as Treflan, in the middle of Llansantffraid, but is set to move from the tiny village of just 1,000 people to a new ground in Oswestry, Shropshire.

TNS founder and major shareholder Mike Harris, managing director of the club and the company, said: “The football club will continue without the sponsorship of the company from the end of this season.

“But we have already secured funding for the football club to continue operating in the future. Some of the proceeds from today’s deal allow this to happen.”

The football club enjoyed the biggest tie in its history in July with Champions League qualifying games against holders Liverpool. Although TNS lost, it marked the club’s seventh European adventure, which has also seen the team play Manchester City.

BT said today’s deal was part of its strategy to boost its position as the leading provider of IT networks.

It follows BSkyB’s recent £211m (€311.7m) of easynet, which gave the satellite broadcaster the ability to package services such as high-speed internet access, pay-TV and phone calls to its customers.

TNS employs 92 staff who will be taken on by BT as part of the deal. Revenues reached £13.9m (€20.5m) last year.

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