NEW Zealand’s 17 resellers of the Sox telephony brand could be waiting until June for a decision on which company will save its ailing vendor.
Melbourne-based Tennyson Networks went into voluntary administration in October, after private company Neoside failed to deliver on the terms of an $A9.8 million bid to buy nearly 70% of its shares. Reseller News reported last month that this allowed Ascent Capital, another Australian investor, to have its bid for majority ownership of Tennyson approved in December.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers administrator Nicholas Brooke says no funds have arrived from Neoside and the administrators are “pursuing the recapitalisation of Tennyson through Ascent”. This is despite saying the Neoside agreement is a better deal for shareholders and creditors. “At least Ascent Capital has delivered the money,” Brooke says. “But the door is still open [for Neoside].”
The battle to save Tennyson should be resolved in three to four months, Brooke says. But Simon Hepburn, director of distributor Sox New Zealand, has received a letter from Neoside’s directors last week saying funds are on their way.
“I know what [the administrators] have been saying about Neoside: ‘yeah, yeah, we’ll believe it when we see it’. But I’ve got a letter from Geoffrey [Rubython] and John [Fletcher] and they’ve given it to me in writing that the transaction is certainly on the way.”
He says the Neoside bid is being financed from the US and Philippines. Australian tax laws relating to overseas money coming into the country are behind the delay.
Hepburn says his business “has been through the mill” during Tennyson’s administration. “We’re just living off services revenue, and bits and pieces.”
Sox has chalked up 120 site installations in its two-and-a-half-year New Zealand history. Rubython could not be contacted at presstime.