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Channel.com Briefs: Primus, ACCC, Isec, Ariba

Channel.com Briefs: Primus, ACCC, Isec, Ariba

Primus begs ACCC

Primus Telecom has made a complaint to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, accusing Telstra of breaching the Telecommunications Act by how much it charges ISPs for connecting to BigPond-hosted sites.

While Primus has to pay when connecting to these sites, Telstra will not agree to a reciprocal relationship when connecting to Primus-hosted sites.

"Telstra is using standover tactics," said Primus general manager for interconnect, Roger Nicoll. "They are behaving like the mob. They want a pound of flesh just to do business with them."

Telstra was forced by the ACCC to come to peering arrangements with Connect.com.au, Optus and OzEmail for similar reasons in 1998 under the threat of $10 million-per-day fines.

"The cost to Primus is $3 a month per customer," Nicoll said. "It's like a 15 per cent tax on our company for no reason. That's a huge slice off our margins."

Isec woos Hostworks

Investment company Isec has announced it will purchase 57 per cent of Internet-hosting company Hostworks, of which it already owns a 43 per cent share.

The transaction would result in the Hostworks business becoming a subsidiary of Isec, although Isec's directors plan to propose the entire company be renamed "Hostworks Group".

The rationale behind the merger is that the combined entity could consolidate its management and cash resources, and Isec directors consider a pure-play Internet-hosting business as a more attractive opportunity to generate shareholder revenue than Isec's current investment business. The Hostworks data centre currently hosts some of Australia's largest sites, such as the ninemsn network and the Ticketek site.

Isec currently holds $3.5 million in cash reserves and will offer Hostworks shareholders a one-for-one share swap. The deal is subject to Isec shareholder approval.

Ariba turns corner

B2B platform vendor Ariba has recorded a profit for its first quarter of fiscal 2001, claiming to be the first Internet B2B to report a positive result.

The company made record revenues of $US170.2 million for the quarter, up 625 per cent from the same period in the previous year. Net income for the quarter was $14 million, comparable to a net loss of $5.6 million in the corresponding quarter last year.

The company attributed the gains to several large corporate wins and the publicity for B2B commerce caused by the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) project.

The company predicts it will gain revenues of $180-185 million for the second fiscal quarter, and forecasts $780-790 million for the 2001 fiscal year.


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