Orcon could be sold

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 14:34 10/03/2014

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Internet provider Orcon could be under new ownership in a "couple of months".

Orcon chief executive Greg McAllister confirmed last month that the internet provider's owners were seeking additional investors and were not ruling out selling a majority stake in the firm.

Investment adviser Grant Samuel would present the options to Orcon's board and there was "a strong preference to move on this relatively quickly", he said today.

"Definitely over the next couple of months I'd hope we'd have clarity on the shareholding structures."

The Warehouse on Friday dismissed a report that it might want to buy Orcon. The same report also identified CallPlus as a possible buyer.

The Warehouse spokeswoman Joanne Fullam said it had "absolutely no interest" in bidding for Orcon.

2degrees, Christchurch-based Snap Internet and business-focused internet provider Voyager would not comment on whether they might be in the running to buy the company.

Voyager was established by Seeby Woodhouse, who founded Orcon when he was a university student in 1994.

Orcon has more than 60,000 internet customers and appears to be the early leader connecting homes to the government-backed ultrafast broadband network.

It said last week more than 6000 of its residential customers were on UFB.

Telecom claimed about 4000 UFB residential customers as of the end of December.

Orcon was acquired from state-owned enterprise Kordia last year for a price that Fairfax understood to be between $30 million and $35m. It has not disclosed who its beneficial owners are, shielding its shareholders behind a trust structure.

"Current shareholders are not in a position to throw more working capital at it, so we are looking for help in that regard," McAllister said.

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- Fairfax Media

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