Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Is it possible to kill GX Networks?

A bit of a personal post now because I am mightily amused by an email I have just received from Pipex (the ISP) that says.
We're writing to let you know that Pipex Communications Ltd - the parent company of 123-reg - has changed its name. We use the Pipex name on some of the emails and invoices we send you. Because Pipex Broadband was sold to Tiscali last year, the name of Pipex Communications Ltd has changed. The company is now known as GX Networks Ltd.
Why is this amusing? Well, because way back in the mists of time I started working for an Internet Service Provider called GX Networks. When I joined they were a subsidiary part of a greater whole called Internet Technology Groups (ITG).

ITG was in the process of being bought (middle of the .com boom) by an American firm called Concentric Networks. Concentric completed the sale and we changed from being GX Networks to Concentric Networks. Whilst Concentric were buying GX though they were being bought themselves.

This time the buyer was a Canadian based company called Nextlink. Nextlink couldn't trade in the EU under that name though due to another company existing with the same name. So, for a while, GX was called "Concentric Nextlink". At this point someone dug through domains that were owned and noticed that was in the porfolio.

At this point we became XO Communications. We still used GX Networks for some customers, but we were XO. Then the .com crash happened. The guys that owned ITG and sold it decided to buy it back and made a fortune in the deal... I personally missed out on £20,000 worth of share options because Salomon Smith-Barney lost a tax form. However, GX Networks was back!

A year or so later another company came along, Zipcom was its name and they were going to buy GX. However, this time with a difference. If I recall correctly, the guys that owned GX were to sell the company to Zipcom but between them hold 51% of buying company in the deal. I think it's called a reverse takeover. At this point I took redundancy and went to work for Tiscali (not working there now of course).

GX carried on trading as both Zipcom and GX for a while then Pipex came along and bought them. Pipex, being an old name and brand on "teh interweb" was a good thing. So the company became Pipex thorugh and through. Then, Pipex decided to sell to Tiscali (my former employer selling to my former employer) and we get back to the email quoted above about the trading name GX Networks Limited.

The moral of the story? Well, first the ISP industry is more incestuous than Norfolk is alleged to be. Think about it. In nine years I have only really worked for two companies, my current employer, and GX/Concentric/Nextlink/Zipcom/Pipex/Tiscali. And second, GX Networks doesn't seem to EVER die. I'm just waiting for my present employer to buy Tiscali and I will have gone full circle.
Note: The above tale began nine years ago in 1999.


Barnacle Bill said...

My head hurts reading that Dizzy, but I have been in the position of leaving one employer for another, who then got taken over by my former employers.
Ending up with my old staff number!

Unknown said...

I've been attempting to track the history of Pipex/GX/Zipcom, purely for personal interest and updating the entries on wikipedia as I go.

What you have said is new light. I'd appreciate your knowledge to expand the articles...


dreamingspire said...

And in one of those changeovers an old accounts archive must have been resurrected because I got an invoice for an account that had been closed for a couple of years (they did quickly apologise).

Anonymous said...

As an ex-employee of Concentric/Nextlink/GX/Zipcom (also took voluntary at this point) I too was confused, thanks for clearing it up! Now, any ideas where I go for a reference!!!!!!????

btw - Who are you????

dizzy said...

Well my name is Phil and my picture is up there

JPR said...

Dizzy I ahve a serious website issue with GX and they are doing sweet FA - do you know who the senior management are and where they are based?

dizzy said...

Best to email me