Peakhour sells off retail business

Peakhour has sold off its customer and reseller base for retail services to voice and data communications company Commander.

Under the agreement, Commander acquires the small business customers that used Peakhour's Web site hosting services. Resellers of these services have also been contacted to discuss continuing their contracts with Commander.

Peakhour has announced that as of mid-September, the company will no longer provide online services to small business customers, and will focus purely on providing wholesale ASP services on behalf of large corporations.

Peakhour spokesperson Anna Kilmartin said it is not a case of Peakhour's retail strategy failing, but that the retail business was an expensive channel to maintain. "Its much more cost effective to focus on the wholesale model," she said. "[Wholesale is] a smarter channel for us to work in - many corporations already have an online relationship with their SME customers."

Kilmartin said Peakhour came to an agreement with Commander because the service provider had agreed to offer the similar terms and conditions to customers and resellers that Peakhour had. "We have tried to make the transition as easy as possible," she said. "There should be minimal interruption to our customers' business."

Dean Gingell, deputy managing director of Commander, said his team is keen to build up its customer base because it can cross-sell the hosting customers a variety of voice and data services. He paid tribute to the help of hosting specialists WebCentral in bringing the customers across, and said resellers can come straight onto Commander's program with the same margins and conditions at they already enjoyed with Peakhour.

Peakhour is currently in the midst of trying to raise capital to keep the company afloat, in what Kilmartin describes as a difficult environment. She was not prepared to comment on how much Peakhour received for its customer base and how those funds could relieve the company's current financial situation.