EXCLUSIVE: iiNet, who recently parted company with Belkin, the maker of their BOB all in one VoIP communication system, is set to launch their own device later this month as speculation mounts that the WA company is a takeover target.
The new product will be the first communication device launched by the recently introduced iiNet Labs.
Speculation is mounting that iiNet is a potential takeover target with suitors tipped to be both Vodafone and Woolworths.
ChannelNews has been told that Woolworth’s management is looking at a potential ISP acquisition, a move that will allow them to market broadband to consumers along with entertainment content, voice and data as well as gaming and online retail services.
The retailer, who is currently moving into the hardware business and already owns BigW, Dick Smith and a chain of liquor stores while also operating the Shell service stations, has admitted that they are looking for acquisitions.
Another potential suitor is Vodafone whose Group chief executive, Vittorio Colao, was in Australia this week praising the roll out of the National Broadband Network.
The European communication company, who recently said that they are looking at the potential of launching a competitor to subscription TV provider Foxtel, acquired the New Zealand assets of iiNet in 2006.
Called iHug Ltd the operation was sold to Vodafone New Zealand for $36 million, which at the time was described as being $6 million above book value.
At a function last night iiNet CEO Michael Maloney did not deny that he was a takeover target. When asked about Vodafone he said: “They are a good company. We have had a relationship with them in the past when we sold them our New Zealand Operation”.
In other moves Greg Bader, iiNet’s Chief Technology Officer told ChannelNews that the company is close to rolling out a replacement device for the Belkin BOB communication system. “We will have a new device in the market before Xmas” he said. Bader, admitted that the relationship with Belkin had been problematic and that a move to in house development via their new iiNet Labs was a preferred option for the company as they were “better able to control development”.
CEO Michael Maloney announced the Lab at the company’s recent Annual General Meeting. The lab will be a “dedicated business group” focusing on “customer premise equipment” he said.
iiNet who is working with Fetch TV to launch a competitor to the Telstra T Box recently reported a net profit of $34.8 million, up 36 percent on revenue of $473 million, up 13 percent for the year to June 30.
Their recent acquisition of AAPT’s consumer division delivered 113,000 additional broadband subscribers and over 251,000 other active services.
Today iiNet has over than 652,00 total active services to more than 1,326,000 subscribers.