WebCentral founders walk away with AU$18 million

Three founders of Australia's largest Web hosting company, WebCentral, will today walk away with AU$18 million in cash when they sell their shares to listed tech company FTR Holdings.The deal announced today by FTR -- which already owns 49.

Three founders of Australia's largest Web hosting company, WebCentral, will today walk away with AU$18 million in cash when they sell their shares to listed tech company FTR Holdings.

The deal announced today by FTR -- which already owns 49.4 percent of the company -- will see it buy the remaining 50.6 percent stake in the Web hosting provider at a total cost of AU$19.6 million.

Under the deal -- which values the Web hosting business at AU$38.7 million -- the founding trio of Lloyd Ernst, Byron Newton and Joe Altoff, will also receive an equities package consisting of two million FTR shares and a further tranche of two million FTR options.

A spokesperson for WebCentral said that the management changeover would have no significant impact on the businesses' daily operation, and gave assurances no redundancies would result form the transaction.

"FTR have owned just under half this company for four years now. They know the place pretty well they're not going to change anything," said the spokesman.

According to WebCentral, the founders will still play a role in influencing the management and operation of the Web hosting provider through their interests in FTR.

The share package gives the trio the opportunity to take a stake in FTR worth up to 10 percent.

WebCentral's recorded annual revenue of AU$36.9 million last financial year on a wholesale and direct customer base comprised of around 60,000 commercial and government Web sites.

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