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Tuesday, 14 July 2020 06:30

Webcentral, formerly Melbourne IT, finally drifts into American ownership Featured

Webcentral, formerly Melbourne IT, finally drifts into American ownership Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay

The Webcentral Group, the firm once known as Melbourne IT and later as the Arq Group, has entered into a deal for its Web hosting assets to be acquired by the Florida-based for a sum of $12.2 million.

In a statement to the ASX on Monday, Webcentral said it had entered a scheme implementation deed providing for to acquire all its shares for A$0.10 per share in cash via a scheme of arrangement.

"The scheme provides cash certainty for Webcentral shareholders," the statement said. "The scheme consideration represents a 56% premium to the closing price on 10 July of A$0.064 per share and a 21% premium to the 30-day volume weighted average price to 10 July of A$0.083 per share."

The enterprise division of the Arq Group was sold to Sydney-based private investment company Quadrant Private Equity on 26 June for $35 million. At the point, the name of the firm changed to Webcentral.

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Webcentral includes the small and medium-sized business assets of the Arq Group; these include the brands Netregistry, WME, Melbourne IT and Domainz.

Webcentral chairman Andrew Reitzer said: “Following the announcement of the strategic review in September 2019, the board has carefully assessed all available options to maximise shareholder value. The scheme provides shareholders an opportunity to realise an immediate cash value for their investment and represents an attractive premium to the prevailing trading price of Webcentral shares.

"Webcentral’s customers will benefit from the increase in global scale to deploy unique, simple and innovative online solutions, as well as a broader product suite and service capability.

“I would like to thank the Webcentral management team and staff for their considerable effort and contribution over the duration of the strategic review, particularly during recent times while managing COVID-19 related disruption.” Group chief executive Sharon Rowlands said: “Webcentral has been a market leader in the Australian domain names, hosting and digital marketing solutions industries for more than 20 years. Group looks forward to welcoming Webcentral to our family of leading brands that focus on helping businesses build an online presence that delivers results.

“We believe the Webcentral offering is a highly complementary offering and builds upon Group’s expanding presence in Australia following the successful acquisition of Dreamscape in 2019.”

In the statement, said it had received an assurance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that there would be no opposition to the sale.

Melbourne IT was founded in 1996 and became the leading registry provider in Australia. The company later listed on the ASX and grew throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. Other brands that were growing at the same time — Netregistry, Domainz and WME — later became part of Melbourne IT.

The company evolved from Melbourne IT Group to Arq Group at the time it expanded through the acquisition of Infoready and Outware into enterprise cloud, mobile app, and data analytics. The sale of the enterprise business unit in June led to a change in name to Webcentral Group.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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