Inabox enters talks with potential buyers

Further wholesale telco and cloud market consolidation could be on the horizon, with Inabox confirming to the ASX that it is in preliminary discussions with potential buyers.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Wholesale telecommunications and cloud services provider Inabox has said it is considering selling off parts of its business after receiving "informal approaches" from interested parties.

According to Inabox, the interest in buying out the company is due to its low share price as well as "market dynamics which continue to drive industry consolidation".

The company said it is now in preliminary discussions with potential buyers.

"Having considered various scenarios with the assistance of its advisers, the board is of the view that the sale of one or more of the company's businesses on terms acceptable to the board could potentially unlock significantly more value for shareholders than has been reflected in the recent price range of the company's shares," Inabox said in a statement on Wednesday to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

Inabox, whose company includes the Telcoinabox, Hostworks, Anittel, iVox, and Neural Networks brands, said that in the meantime its businesses are "showing promising momentum".

In February last year, Inabox had raised AU$4 million via a private placement to help cover its AU$7 million acquisition of cloud services company Hostworks.

At the time, the company said the acquisition would allow it to extend its own cloud services and strengthen its position in the South Australian market thanks to Hostworks' 24/7 networks operation centre located in Adelaide.

The Hostworks acquisition also included associated companies from BAI Communications, and involved Inabox paying AU$5 million upfront and AU$2 million over an 18-month period beginning in FY18. The acquisition was expected to bring total revenue to AU$119 million in the first year.

This was soon followed by its AU$1.5 million acquisition of Logic Communications in March last year, which it said would add more than AU$1 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) in FY18.

The Logic acquisition was aimed at extending its cloud, telco, and IT business with SMBs across Western Australia.

On the telco side, Inabox launched a wholesale channel mobile product utilising Telstra's 4G and 3G networks back in August 2016, allowing subsidiary Anittel to provide their more than 440 indirect and direct retail service provider customers to offer a 4G-capable mobile solution to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Citing its "strong relationship" with Telstra Wholesale, Inabox at the time said the wholesale mobile offering would ensure its IT and managed communications portfolio is market leading.

In June 2016, Inabox had sold off its Hosted Collaboration Services (HCS) business to Telstra for AU$4.5 million, which it said would enable the company to focus more on its "core offering to provide managed communications and IT solutions to small and medium businesses and consumer brands".

"Inabox's greatest opportunities and strengths lie in the SMB market, where we have over 1,000 customers and support over 400 channel partners around Australia. Divesting the HCS business allows us to deploy new products that target our core SMB market, and consider new strategic acquisitions," Inabox said at the time.

The HCS assets were acquired by Inabox upon its AU$9.88 million purchase of rival provider Anittel in 2014, along with a long-term exclusive agreement to supply the Tasmanian government with Cisco hosted collaboration services.

Inabox also secured a AU$3.6 million deal with Total Telecoms Group to handle 3,000 public switched telephone network (PSTN) services back in June 2015, and purchased Queensland VoIP and cloud services provider Neural Networks Data Services for AU$350,000 in July 2014.

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