Web host WebCentral has completed a triumphant management buy back, recovering the 55 per cent shareholding which for the past 18 months has been held by OzEmailWhile WebCentral CEO Lloyd Ernst could not divulge the details of the current transaction, he did say that the deal took place in the form of a swap rather than a cash transaction. OzEmail will relinquish its 55 per cent share of WebCentral in exchange for the remaining 45 per cent of PowerUp Internet business previously held by the WebCentral directors.
Ernst estimates that OzEmail acquired the 55 per cent share of WebCentral for approximately $5 million "The reason we entered into the deal wasn't because of the money," he says. "We could have got more money from someone else. It was because of the fact that we were able to get in there and leverage the relationship with OzEmail. I think we did the deal in August and by February we had taken over all their Web hosting, so we got about 7000 or 8000 sites out of them."Ernst says that UUNET wanted to tidy up any loose ends with its smaller ISP's before they put OzEmail up for sale and saw two distinct areas within the company, the Web hosting, which has become WebCentral, and the ISP, now PowerUp Internet.
As part of the agreement WebCentral will continue to provide Web hosting for both OzEmail and UUNET Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore. UUNET has also been selected by WebCentral as its supplier of connectivity services.
WebCentral has brought in $11 million worth of funding from investment company FTR to develop and market a new portal builder service which will allow it to leverage all its current SME tools to corporate and large customers. The portal builder service will allow corporate customers to offer business e-mail services, dial-in-access, and a whole range of other products to their own customers.