in brief Best known as a Telstra reseller, Crazy Johns is moving to compete with the telco by running as its own mobile operator financed by the sale of part of the business.
To help the company on its way to debuting as a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), Crazy Johns' owner John Ilhan has sold a 16.6 percent stake in the business to a group of private investors. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Under its MVNO plan, the company plans to resell mobile services to Crazy Johns' customers across the country using Vodafone's network. Although Crazy Johns' first announced its intention to develop the virtual network in 2005, it was under contract with Telstra until June of this year.
As well as financing the MVNO move, the sale will help finance the chain's expansion overseas and potentially fund acquisitions.
Ilhan said he had received several offers for the stake in Crazy Johns but had chosen to sell to a consortium containing the Smorgon family and the Selpam Group as it gave a better "cultural fit" with the business.