Orcon on the block

Update 1pm: Vivid Networks director is shareholder in Orcon Holdings Limited, which was registered last month

Update: 1pm The company Vivid Networks is being mentioned in the industry as the possible buyer of Orcon. Computerworld spoke to Vivid Networks director Warren Hurst, who appeared reluctant to discuss the sale. He says Vivid Networks is not involved in the sale, but he didn’t deny that an entity that he has involvement with is.

“I’m not really at liberty to discuss anything in that regard at this time due to the confidential nature of discussions I’m having with a number of companies at the moment actually.”

Is this about the sale of Orcon?, Computerworld asked.

“It’s not really the time to discuss it. Not the time to have this discussion.

Computerworld asked Hurst to describe his businesses interests:I’m a shareholder in a number of IT- related companies."

According to the Companies Office the name Orcon Holdings Limited was registered on February 20, with the shareholder listed as Semple Investments. The shareholders of Semple Investments are Hurst, along with Tony Reimann who, according to his LinkedIn profile is general manager commercial operations at Revera.

Original story Kordia says it is in talks to sell its ISP Orcon. The state owned enterprise has today released the following statement: “Kordia has been in discussions regarding the sale of Orcon with several parties over a number of months. Interest in the business intensified following the announcement of its integration with Kordia in November last year. “Discussions are continuing, and Kordia expects to be able to make a formal announcement in the coming weeks," says a statement from Kordia. “Due to the confidential nature of our discussions, Kordia is not in a position to comment further at this time.” Kordia bought the ISP from entrepreneur Seeby Woodhouse in 2007 for $24.3 million.

It has always run the ISP as a distinct entity, and incoming Kordia NZ CEO Scott Scott Bartlett indicated that the Kordia and Orcon brands wouldn't merge.

“I will never merge these two brands, ever. They stand for different things, they play in different markets, they’ve got strengths and weaknesses that balance each other out, and I will not be the CEO that gets rid of the Orcon brand or visa versa folds the Kordia brand into Orcon."

Kordia, originally the transmission arm of TVNZ, has assets which include broadcasting spectrum, a telco network, an Australian contracting business and an ISP. The SOE faced an uncertain future with the analogue switchover – due for completion at the end of 2013.

In order to ensure its survival, outgoing Kordia Group chief executive Geoff Hunt implemented a five-year strategy 'broadcast to broadband'.

“He came into the job and in week one someone walked into his office and said 'are you aware that the company’s going bust in about 10 years time with analogue switch off' and his job was to turn it around,” Bartlett told Computerworld last month.

“We will go into analogue switch off not going into negative territory, fall into losses – the New Zealand business continues to be a profitable enterprise and I think Geoff deserves that headline. If you want mission accomplished, that was probably his key hallmark.”

Last year, Kordia disclosed it was undergoing a strategic review and there were persistent industry rumours that Orcon was for sale. But in November Kordia announced Orcon was to be rolled into Kordia Networks. A Kordia NZ CEO and Kordia Australia CEO were appointed and, along with the Chief Financial Officer, they each report separately to the board. The Kordia Group CEO role was disbanded and Hunt will leave the company this month.

The Orcon sale - which according to an article in the NBR is already a done deal - will see further consolidation in the telco industry. In July last year Vodafone bought TelstraClear for $840 million.

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