Breathe.com collapses

The company failed to secure a second round of financing following the closure of breathe freely, its unmetered internet access service.

Breathe.com, the UK's fourth biggest internet service provider, is looking for a buyer after collapsing on Friday with debts of £50m (E82.2m).

PwC was appointed administrator to the company. The Financial Times reports Michael Horrocks of PwC saying: “We will continue to trade the company while seeking to sell it as a going concern. We are actively looking for interested parties to maximise realisations and secure the future for Breathe.com. There are no job losses anticipated at present.”

Earlier this month, the company was forced to close “breathe freely”, its unmetered internet access service. Investors, which include Chase Capital Partners Europe and 3i, are then said to have started searching for a buyer for the company. The private equity firms invested £20m in Breathe in exchange for a 35 per cent stake. Both Chase and 3i also provided the financing for The Street.co.uk, the financial website that shut down last month after failing to secure a round of funding.

Breathe freely, launched in April, allowed users internet access and connection for a one-off payment of £50. At the time, the company said the service had become economically unfeasible as a result of excessive use by customers.

Breathe, which is believed to have signed up 50,000 users to the offer, could now face a compensation bill of about £2.5m if it is forced to repay the £50 fee to its customers under the Trade Descriptions Act.