Rumours abound over sale

Rumours abound over sale

GEN-i continues to shrug off rumours that the company is about to be bought, but channel sources say that at least three suitors have been in sale talks with the systems integrator.

Unnamed sources have told Reseller News that Telecom, TelstraClear and Datacom have all shown an interest in purchasing the Eric Watson-owned company. Telecom and TelstraClear are considered to be serious contenders, while Datacom’s interest is cursory, sources say.

This follows a May 4 Computerworld article in which Gen-i CEO Garth Biggs said it is common knowledge that Gen-i is up for sale but no one has “fronted up with the right price” yet.

Biggs has since told Reseller News there is nothing new about TelstraClear’s and Telecom’s names being linked to a takeover of Gen-i. “I’ve been hearing similar rumours for years — that the deal will be consummated at the end of day. The strength of [these rumours] will be judged at the time they go away.”

He says Gen-i is often in talks with the two phone companies because his company partners with “them on many transactions”.

TelstraClear spokesman Matthew Boland says the company does not comment on prospective takeover bids.

Datacom executive chairman Frank Stephenson could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile, Biggs says the appointment of Pacific Retail Group director Stephen Smith to the Gen-i board in February is not related to any takeover rumours.

Smith, an independent director, has replaced Watson, who resigned from the board in December. “He’s our third independent director [and] brings a good understanding of governance. He brings some separation [between ownership and governance].”

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