NetStar completes management buyout

NetStar completes management buyout

Network integrator NetStar yesterday became an independent company after securing a private deal with investment bank ING Baring for an undisclosed sum.

After months of negotiations, former parent, distributor Anixter has sold its controlling stake in the company to both ING Baring and senior NetStar managers, with staff to be offered shares in December.

The sale agreement, signed on October 26 and to be formally announced this week, caps off a remarkable run of success for the company, which only began operating as NetStar in February this year.

According to NetStar Australia managing director Kent Brooks, ING Baring's investment allows NetStar to retain the ability to make independent strategic decisions despite the bank's controlling financial stake.

He told ARN last week ING Baring is only interested in gaining a return on investment, not in "running the day-to-day business".

"We want to be the masters of our own destiny," he said.

Brooks also reports NetStar will use the buyout to prepare the company for a possible stock exchange listing or buyout in the future, giving staff and the ING group the opportunity to make a return on their investments.

"People have been preoccupied with position, salary, who they have to report to. Now they will try to add more value to their own investment by making the company more profitable," he said.

With a series of acquisitions throughout the Asia-Pacific already planned, Brooks said the company expected to reach revenues of $US200 million within 12 months. NetStar's revenue in the last financial year was $US82 million.

Although the company has retained the name NetStar, a new board of directors will be formed comprising four ING Baring representatives and three shareholding NetStar managers, including Brooks and NetStar international chairman, K.H. Wun.

The third NetStar representative will hold the role of chief financial officer, but has not yet been appointed.

The company has offices in Australia, China and Taiwan, with plans to open offices in Singapore and Southeast Asia in early 2000.

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