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5GN’s Joe Demase takes over Webcentral leadership ahead of proposed acquisition

5GN’s Joe Demase takes over Webcentral leadership ahead of proposed acquisition

Demase to act as interim CEO as Brett Fenton steps aside

Joe Demase (5G Networks)

Joe Demase (5G Networks)

Credit: 5G Networks

The head of 5G Networks has taken over the temporary leadership of Webcentral Group as it attempts to acquire the beleaguered IT services provider.

Joe Demase will act as interim CEO in place of Brett Fenton as the data infrastructure and network services currently battles the Takeovers Panel to gain the company formerly known as Arq Group. 

Fenton took over from another interim CEO Tristan Sternson, who stepped in after former boss Martin Mercer exited Arq Group in September 2019. 

The announcement to shareholders comes as the publicly listed 5GN finds itself embroiled in a row over its attempt to acquire Webcentral. 

Financial services firm Keybridge Capital had flagged several issues with 5GN’s pursual of Webcentral in an application submitted to the Australian Takeovers Panel.

According to Keybridge, 5G Networks' bidder's statement and Webcentral's target's statement in relation to the 5G Networks Conditional Funding "create a highly coercive effect on shareholders to accept the [5G Networks] Bid to cause control to pass in a manner inconsistent with that of an efficient, competitive and informed market". 

5GN was previously up against US company Web.com Group in its pursuit of Webcentral, as the latter raised its bid to $18.9 million last month. However, 5GN came out with a higher offer of $21.6 million. 

Webcentral had originally until 27 October to unconditionally accept the proposal. However, now Keybridge is looking at interim orders that 5G Networks not process any acceptances until the panel considers its statements and that 5G Networks extends its bid by three weeks. 

5GN’s acquisition comes after Webcentral saw its  profits plummet by over 1,200 per cent last financial year.

Having sold off its enterprise business arm, the last remaining operation, its singular small- to medium-sized business (SMB) division saw profit fall to -$18 million, down from the previous corresponding period of $1.6 million in profit. 


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