Former Voyager management takes owners to court over share deal

The New Zealand founders of of Voyager are taking the ISP's owners to court over what they say is a failure to buy back their shares in the company as agreed. Former Voyager general manager John O'Hara has promised 'some interesting industry information' will be revealed when when he and his fellow shareholder and former Voyager network operations manager Alistair Stevens, meet Australian ISP and Internet media company OzEmail in the Auckland High Court on October 16.

The New Zealand founders of of Voyager are taking the ISP's owners to court over what they say is a failure to buy back their shares in the company as agreed.

Former Voyager general manager John O'Hara has promised "some interesting industry information" will be revealed when when he and his fellow shareholder and former Voyager network operations manager Alistair Stevens, meet Australian ISP and Internet media company OzEmail in the Auckland High Court on October 16.

O'Hara and Stevens have each owned10% of Voyager since its launch in 1996, with OzEmail holding the balance.

O'Hara says that on January 2 this year he and Alistair Stevens exercised put options contained in their shareholders' agreement, allowing them to sell their shares to OzEmail on the expiry of their contracts. He says Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu was chosen by OzEmail as a valuer and both sides made submissions during the valuation process.

"The shareholders agreement provided that the valuation would be binding on both parties and that payment would be due some 90 days after the valuation was completed," says O'Hara. O'Hara says he and Stevens retained ownership of their shares in the interim, "but OzEmail held a proxy to vote them as they saw fit.

"Last week, OzEmail, without explanation or discussion, failed to make payment to Alistair and I, despite several enquiries from our solictors. Accordingly, we have now instaged legal proceedings in the High Court seeking summary judgement from OzEmail for the amount due to us."

David Mackey, who was drafted in from OzEmail confirmed that "there are some issues" over payment for the shares "but we trust they'll be sorted out by the courts. It's a discussion between John and Alistair and OzEmail in Sydney, so from my perspective here, it's carry on as normal. There's no impact on our business here."

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