Vocus nabs Unwired's Spence in $20m sell-out

Summary:Up and coming IP network service provider Vocus has hired former Unwired chief David Spence as it sells out to an ASX-listed investment firm for $20 million.

Up and coming IP network service provider Vocus has hired former Unwired chief David Spence as it sells out to an ASX-listed investment firm for $20 million.

David Spence

Vocus scores David Spence
(Credit: Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet Australia)

Spence is set to commence his role as chairman of Vocus on the day the company will be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, which Vocus chief executive James Spencely said would probably occur by late June when the transaction with the buyer First Opportunity Fund Limited was expected to proceed.

Spence left Unwired after the company was placed under Wireless Broadband Australia alongside the Channel Seven subsidiary's new venture, vividwireless, headed up by Martin Mercer.

"As a management team we have a lot of experience building networks, and running IP backbones, but we have never run a public company. David has experience in both — a lot of technical knowledge and experience managing a listed company," Spencely told ZDNet.com.au.

"My role is just to make sure that we deliver for all the stakeholders and to help James [Spencely] achieve his objectives in the company," Spence told ZDNet.com.au.

The sale to First Opportunity Fund (FOF) was primarily in order to gain access to the Australian Stock Exchange, according to Spencely. He said Vocus wanted to be in the position to make further acquisitions or expand its operations overseas. Two separate teams within Deloitte assessed the deal.

Vocus launched its New Zealand operations last year, and according to Spencely, the country now accounts for about 30 per cent of its revenues.

Locally, Vocus provides retail service providers such as iiNet, its IP Transit service, which enables redundancy and the ability to ramp up capacity. Its local competitors include IP network management service providers such as Telstra, Telecom NZ subsidiary AAPT, and Verizon.

In New Zealand, the company provides similar services to Vodafone NZ, and to FX Networks, a wholesale network provider akin to Australia's Nextgen Networks, which will run the Federal Government's 6000-kilometre backhaul network.

Spence said that the National Broadband Network was positive news for the company, since it will drive demand for international data. "Also, it's an opportunity to become a wholesale network operator," said Spence. "We intend to run IP networks for service providers."

Banking group Investec, which manages ASX-listed FOF, will have a spot on Vocus' board alongside Spence.

Topics: Telcos, New Zealand


Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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