Qixel makes itself scarce

The deconstruction of investment vehicle Qixel has seen its shareholding in e-marketplace SupplyNet change into interests directly held by entrepreneur Eric Watson.

The deconstruction of investment vehicle Qixel has seen its shareholding in marketplace SupplyNet change into interests directly held by entrepreneur Eric Watson.

Last week Watson and Qixel’s two other main shareholders, colleagues Evan Christian and Nick Gordon, announced they had liquidated Qixel’s local arm, Qixel Asia-Pacific, and redistributed Qixel’s investments to a series of trusts and holding companies.

The investments included shares in gen-i, Auldhouse Computer Training and SupplyNet. Computerworld reported speculation of Qixel's impending SupplyNet pull-out last month, to denials by former Qixel chief executive Greg Cross.

Qixel Capital Group still exists in the US as a shell investment company for Watson alone, and has laid off its three staff.

Cross, also chief executive of Advantage Group, says the decision not to list Qixel on the Nasdaq and to stop holding local interests had been a long time coming and reflected the downturn in the tech markets.

Cross has not acted in an executive role for Qixel since June when it reverted to being a pure investment holding company.

Watson released a statement saying the strategy of aggregating assets and listing them in groups had been replaced by a strategy of direct participation in individual companies.

Qixel’s approximate 46% shareholding in Advantage has been transferred to Watson interests (18.8%), Christian (11.5%), Christian family interests (4%) and Gordon interests (3.6%).

Qixel and Cullen Investments financial adviser Paul Connell confirms that was slightly more than the three investors had held when Qixel was established.

“They are still very much committed to Advantage,” Connell says.

Advantage shares fell $0.09 to $1.45 after the announcement and continued to fall over the next few days, prompting a “please explain” notice from the stock exchange before Advantage held its annual general meeting on Friday.

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