Baker & McKenzie has advised telco PowerTel on its takeover of Request Broadband, only six months after a takeover bid by Telecom Venture Group (TVG) for PowerTel itself.
The law firm said the move was part of Hong Kong investment firm TVG’s expansion into the Australian market.
Following its takeover bid in the second half of 2003, TVG gained control of 49.9 per cent of PowerTel in September, a deal valued at $30 million.
TVG already owned 87 per cent of Request, and the full takeover by PowerTel has allowed TVG to gain a controlling stake in PowerTel, boosting their holding to 61.9 per cent.
Lead partner in the deal Guy Sanderson said this approach meant the deal was “more like a merger than a takeover”.
He said it would give PowerTel a foothold in the small and medium size business (SME) market, enabling it to provide competition with Telstra and Optus.
“We were delighted to act for PowerTel on this acquisition. We worked with them when TVG acquired them last year so it’s been great to carry on working with the PowerTel team,” Sanderson said.
Request’s network covers 55 per cent of Australia’s SMEs using a digital subscriber line (DSL) network, which will complement PowerTel’s optic fibre backbone network.
At the bid announcement on 22 December, PowerTel said it expected to pick up more than 10 per cent of the business DSL market. The company said as well as TVG itself, all shareholders in Request had agreed to the takeover.
Request CEO Phil Sykes will become the new Chief Operating Officer of PowerTel. He said the name Request would remain as a brand of PowerTel until after a study had been completed testing the strength of both brands in the marketplace.
The original implied acquisition price for Request was $54 million, based on the issue of 1,458,333,333 shares at a value of 3.7 cents each on 19 December 2003.