Passive investor not taking over Cellnet

By James Wells

BRISBANE: Venture capital company CVC Asia has increased its share in publicly-listed consumer electronics distributor Cellnet, but at this stage has not initiated a takeover.

According to a report in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, CVC Asia’s current shareholding of 19.16 per cent is just short of the threshold that would automatically trigger a takeover bid. CVC Asia has significantly increased its shareholding since acquiring a 7.25 stake in the company in November 2005 when company director, Jim Goldburg sold most of his shares.

The report claims CVC is expected to stay below the 20 per cent threshold and at this stage has no plans to seek representation on the company’s board.

Last week Cellnet announced the appointment of company director and former Woolworths CEO, Reg Clairs, as the new chairman of the company.

Clairs said he has spoken to CVC Asia and claims the investment company is a passive investor.

“As chairman, I am now committed to seeing the company reach its full potential for the benefit of all stakeholders,” Clairs said last week.

Earlier this year, Cellnet held an event in Brisbane for 100 retailers to present its new corporate image following a seven-month restructure.

During the restructure, 75 staff were made redundant as the company merged the company’s six separate distribution divisions into one business with a unified company structure and branding.

Cellnet is the distributor of Sony audio accessories, Apple iPods, Samsung mobile phones, Lexmark printers as well as a diverse range of laptop computers through retailers including Retravision, Betta Electrical, JB Hi-Fi and Wow Sight & Sound.

“Cellnet should now be considered by electrical retailers as an interesting proposition as a way of getting access to a broad range of products,” Cellnet Group managing director, Adam Davenport told current.com.au.

“We’re unique in terms of the breadth of our range, from laptops to iPods and right through to mobile phones. Of course there are different ways that retailers can source those products, but what they are looking to do is reduce the number of suppliers they have.”

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