British ISP veteran Pipex looks set to be snapped by any of an array of larger broadband sharks set to circle the company.
Pipex, which emerged in 1991 as the UK's first commercial internet service provider, has appointed an investment bank to consider options that could include a sale.
Sources close to BT, Carphone Warehouse, Orange, Tiscali and BSkyB all told the FT they would consider making offers, though the companies declined official comment.
Mostly as a result of previous acquisitions and consolidation, each already has a consumer broadband service - but the acquisition of Pipex could give new entrants like Carphone Warehouse the extra infrastructure capacity they need to take on more customers.
Pipex's 570,000 broadband customers make it the sixth-largest UK provider but, following a high-profile national ad campaign fronted by David Hasselhoff last year, many users have complained of worsening service.