CallPlus, New Zealand’s third largest telco and broadband provider, has been acquired by Australian-based, telecommunications and utilities provider, M2 Group for NZ$250 million.
The move comes on the back of CallPlus – made up of CallPlus Business, Slingshot, Orcon, Flip and 2talk – undergoing significant growth in recent years, including buying Orcon midway through last year.
Chief executive Mark Callander says the time was right to grow the business even further and take it to the next level.
“It is a very exciting time in the life of CallPlus and signals a new era for the company," Callander says.
"With M2’s wealth of experience and expertise, CallPlus is now in a perfect position to continue to grow as we focus on our drive of connecting 1 in 4 Kiwi homes."
Callander, who will continue to lead the company, says it will be business as usual at CallPlus, saying the growth CallPlus has achieved comes down to the "hard work and dedication" of its team and they can now look forward to the next stage of the company’s development.
M2 is an S&P/ASX200 company that provides traditional and next generation telecommunications products, as well as electricity, gas, and insurance with revenues in excess of AUD$1 billion.
M2 CEO Geoff Horth says CallPlus is an "excellent business and an extraordinary success story."
"We are thrilled to bring CallPlus into the M2 fold, at a time when it is delivering strong growth and profitability," he says.
"We have had a long association with CallPlus, as a wholesale supplier to our existing New Zealand operation and recognise many similarities between our businesses in terms of target customers, team culture and a shared philosophy.
"M2 will be maintaining CallPlus as a self-contained operating business, thus presenting minimal integration risk or distraction to M2's aggressive growth ambitions on both sides of the Tasman.
"The existing CallPlus management team will continue to lead the business, under the local leadership of Mark Callander, CallPlus's long term CEO.
"We look forward to welcoming the CallPlus team to the M2 Group and Mark to our Executive Team."
Callander says CallPlus and M2 share a similar culture, with both companies having a "challenger spirit" and a reputation for being disruptive in their respective markets.
CallPlus was founded by Annette Presley and Malcolm Dick in 1996 - Presley says they started the company with a dream to build a telecommunications company that would create competition, fair pricing for customers, and excellent service in New Zealand.
"CallPlus changed the telecommunications landscape in New Zealand," he adds. "I'm proud of our CEO Mark Callander and the executive team, and all of our staff who have led the way with innovation and created a world-class company of which they can be proud.
"But as one door closes another opens and we've handed the baton over to M2 to continue to bring choice and added value at a fair price to New Zealanders.
"They will take CallPlus to the next level and give NZ consumers and businesses better value through investing in innovation."
Callander says M2 is intent on maintaining the status quo at CallPlus and respects the fact that it is and will remain a kiwi-focussed company.
“CallPlus and brands like Slingshot and Orcon, will never lose their uniquely Kiwi identity," he adds.
"For us it’s all about providing our customers with the best products and service as possible and keeping the big boy telcos honest, which we will continue to do."