Asia Online launches local assault

Asia Online launches local assault

In an attempt to bolster its service offerings for the government and SME markets, ISP/Web developer Asia Online has acquired Canberra-based ISP Spirit Networks for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition will see Spirit Networks absorbed by Asia Online as it leverages the ISP's existing customer base of key Federal Government departments and SMEs.

Furthermore, the acquisition will see Internet veteran and Spirit CEO Richard Siggs and the rest of the Spirit team retained by Asia Online, providing a valuable roost of experience from which Asia Online can draw as it continues its foray into the Australian market.

Established in 1994, Spirit Networks predominantly provides access and hosting, with a customer base including the Health Communications Network, the Australian Information Industry Association and the Australian Survey and Land Information Group.

With the acquisition, Asia Online intends to augment its Web development and systems integration business, claims Pascal Grant, Asia Online's CEO.

According to Grant, there were two primary motivations for the acquisition. Firstly the synergy of Spirit and Asia Online's SME focuses, and secondly, the expertise acquisition of Spirit's managing director and Internet stalwart Siggs.

"Richard has had around 25 years of experience," Grant said. He was one of the originals of the Internet. I think he brings formidable experience to Asia Online. We are buying an experienced team," he added.

The foundation of the acquisition derived from an existing relationship between both companies' staff, Grant said. "It wasn't like hey, there's a company down the road who's a competitor, let's go buy them. It was more a case of we both want the same things so let's work together."

By rounding out Asia Online's offerings and tapping into a sound existing customer base, Grant believes Asia Online is well positioned to take advantage of the Government's mandate to put all departments online and begin fostering B2B or e-commerce capabilities.

According to Siggs, Spirit's customers will have access to faster connectivity and the support an international entity like Asia Online can provide.

"[Our customers] will be connected to a faster data network and be backed by a larger support team, while maintaining the advantage of local knowledge from the original Spirit Networks team," Siggs said.

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