BREAKING NEWS: Advantage confirms agreement to buy WebMasters

Advantage Group's acquisition of local Internet developer WebMasters, announced this morning, will make Advantage one of the largest Web development firms in the Asia-Pacific region, says Advantage CEO Greg Cross.

Advantage Group's acquisition of local Internet developer WebMasters will make Advantage one of the largest Web development firms in the Asia-Pacific region, says Advantage CEO Greg Cross.

Advantage bought Glazier Systems earlier this year and Cross says the addition of WebMasters to its stable will give it more than 100 experienced Web developers to call on.

The conditional agreement, subject to due diligence and finalised contractual arrangements, will see Advantage pay a total of $3 million in cash and $5 million in shares over a two-year period for WebMasters

WebMasters was one of New Zealand's first professional Internet development companies and its 45 staff work from offices in Auckland, Hamilton (where the company was founded) and Wellington. Its portfolio includes Advantage's own the New Zealand Dairy Board, Firestone, Fletcher Challenge Energy, two Parliamentary sites, Telecom's white and yellow pages and the Clear Net Web site.

Cross says the acquisition "represents another major step on the path that we outlined for Advantage twelve months ago. We're bringing together a strong and experienced team of Internet professionals to offer the full range of e-commerce services; this will significantly strengthen what is a core e-commerce competency for Advantage. E-commerce now represents over 60% of Advantage's revenues and will be the foundation for the company's future growth."

WebMasters managing director. Frank van der Velden says his company saw the need to align with another firm some time ago if it was to ensure a market leadership position.

"We spent considerable time looking into the available options, including offshore investors, before arriving at Advantage," says van der Velden. "The value for us and for our customers is that they are focused simply on developing a best of breed e-commerce division. The recent Glazier acquisition tipped the balance: they are a perfect complementary fit with our services. The decision was simple. Advantage have the long-term vision, management talent and financial backing necessary to be ideally placed to take a significant lead in this sector."

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