FryUp: Plan B for ITC, IBM doesn't like Mondays either

Top Stories: - Plan B for IT Capital - IBM doesn't like Mondays either

Top Stories:

- Plan B for IT Capital

- IBM doesn't like Mondays either

- Plan B for IT Capital

Like some bad 50s science fiction movie IT Capital has managed to fend off the unwanted advances of its minority shareholders and has pulled itself free of the toxic sludge of bad publicity. Or has it? (cue "ooh-ee-ooh" music).

IT Capital, for those who care to know, was a high-flyer in the dot com era. Well, it was as near to being a high-flyer as we had in New Zealand. Kind of a medium to low-flyer with training wheels on. ITC was set up as a venture capitalist and ended up owning a bevy of start-up companies that would one day be worth billions of imperialist Yankee dollars and would make their owners fabulously wealthy and powerful beyond their wildest dreams.

Currently, ITC shares are trading at about the four cent mark.

Two of New Zealand's better known IT company managers have jumped on board the listing hulk and claimed salvage rights. Maurice Bryham you may remember set up PC Direct and got out while the going was good, then set up exo-net. David McKee Wright was hired as managing director of PC Direct and eventually flogged it off to Gateway which didn't know what to do with it and so pulled out of New Zealand altogether.

McKee Wright was finally hired on at exo-net and promised to take the company to Singapore because New Zealand was too backward to understand its potential. He changed his mind and exo-net stayed, and was eventually sold to Solution Six in Australia.

Now, with pockets bulging and at something of a loose end, the dynamic duo have set out to rescue IT Capital, by selling it their stakes in three companies in exchange for a large number of ITC shares.


That's what I thought. ITC would buy stakes in three companies -- Sealegs International, Conceptual Solutionz and Datasquirt -- off Bryham and McKee Wright in exchange for the boys putting in money of their own and bringing along some outside investors.

However, the small shareholders, led by that perennial thorn in the side of company directors everywhere, Shareholders' Association chairman Bruce Sheppard, questioned the independent valuation of ITC shares and demanded answers to lots of questions. Apparently he scared off the investors so Bryham and McKee Wright have had to scale back their rescue plan to majority holdings in two of the three companies and less of a capital injection.

What does this mean for IT Capital? Buggered if I know. Presumably this will help save them from having lots of money but nothing to spend it on, although I don't know that should ever be considered a problem.

Oh to be a business reporter, eh? I, of course, am but a simple man trying to make my way in the universe.

Shareholder campaign forces IT capital to find plan B - NZ Herald

IT Capital muddles through - IDGNet

Breathing space for IT Capital - NZ Herald

IT Capital worries put wind up investors - NZ Herald

- IBM doesn't like Mondays either

Speaking of money burning a hole in your pocket, IBM went out shopping for a nice tie the other day and came back with a consultancy firm.

Don't you just hate it when that happens?

"It looked so lonely in the window and I knew you wanted one really and well, I'll look after it and make sure it doesn't chew your slippers." Hopefully this is one present that won't be turfed out the first time it pees on the rug.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has decided discretion is the better part of accounting and has spun off its consultancy arm, now known as Monday, for some obscure marketing reason, and flogged it off for a cool $US3.5 billion.

Interestingly, this is the same consultancy arm that PwC wanted closer to $US15 billion for only a couple of years ago when Hewlett-Packard tried to buy it. HP walked away from the deal and ended up buying Compaq, which is a nice rebound gift I suppose.

Accountancy firms got into the world of consultancy some years ago now and have been creaming it ever since. However, since Arthur Andersen's problems with Enron and later with WorldCom, the accounting firms have accepted there's a conflict of interest in being both integrator and bean counter and are getting rid of their consultancy arms as fast as they can, despite them making truckloads of cash. Telecom has recently announced it has changed its accounting rules and now PwC can't be both accountant and consultant, and PwC decided to stay as consultant because it was earning far more from that side of the business than from the bean counting side.

Unfortunately this trend also means the marketing droids have gone bananas, and so we see PwC Consulting become Monday and now Deloitte Consulting become, wait for it, Braxton - either a snide reference to the US singer with the taste in see-through, stick-on dresses or a comment on false labour pains. You pick. IBM's first move has been to ignore the whole Monday thing, which at least shows it has good taste.

Kudos must surely go to IDC New Zealand's Mark Cribbens who managed to get a learned opinion out to the waiting news room fax machines around the land in less than half an hour, thus breaking several land speed records if not actual laws of physics. The results of his labour can be seen on Stuff, NZ Herald and, ahem, IDGNet.

IBM to buy PwC Consulting for $US3.5 billion - IDGNet

Expanded IBM to have 10pc of NZ services market - NZ Herald

IBM climbs Kiwi services market - Stuff

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