West 175 Media Group Inc
26 May 2000
WEST 175 MEDIA GROUP INC: ACQUISITION
OF 60% OF ACTRIX, NEW ZEALAND's FIRST INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER
West 175 Media Group Inc ('West 175') the lifestyle media group listed on AIM,
announces that it has exercised its option to purchase 60 per cent of the
ordinary share capital of Actrix Networks ('Actrix'), an established and
profitable business to business ISP in New Zealand, for approximately NZ$
960,000 (UK £298,896). This follows the announcement at the Group's AGM on
November 4th 1999.
The consideration is to be satisfied entirely by the issue of 118,281 new
shares being issued by West 175 direct to the vendor, Mr. Hal King, the Chief
Executive of Actrix. Application will be made for the new common shares in
West 175 which rank pari passu in all respects with the Company's existing
common or ordinary shares, to be admitted to trading on AIM.
Actrix has been established for 10 years. It is the oldest ISP in New Zealand
and the fifth oldest in the world. It has a highly web-literate management
team which will be deployed across West 175's group of companies. The
management will continue to remain with the business.
Actrix has over 10,000 subscribers 30 per cent of which are business to
business and growing rapidly. This is more than treble the 3000 it had in
March 99 and reflects the growing satisfaction amongst high volume users of
Actrix independent backbone now operational. General ISP services to retail
customers include: hosting; design, and high speed connections. It also
offers a range of enhanced services to its business customers including:
intranet telephony; unified messaging; virtual private networks and virtual
ISPs. In terms of numbers of business subscribers, it is among the market
leaders in New Zealand. Customers include The Inland Revenue, Ministry of
Defence, Internet Society of New Zealand , Wellington Newspapers, the US
Embassy and the French Embassy.
Commenting, Rohan Courtney, Chairman of West 175 said: 'We are delighted to
add Actrix to the West 175 group of companies, as a cash positive business
with considerable expansion potential. It has almost unlimited bandwidth and
is one of only three internet companies with an independent backbone providing
exclusive internet traffic for customers.'
Mr. Courtney added: 'New Zealand is an attractive internet market and our
position as a regional media owner can do much to accelerate subscriber growth
and add value to Actrix as an acquisition in the short term. In particular, we
plan to provide new services, such as voice internet telephony services for
retail and business customers. Actrix will also be providing virtualised ISP
services to link in with our television and radio stations.'
John McEwen, Chief Executive of West 175 said: 'Actrix is an important step
for us. By integrating our activities, we can offer a unique one-stop
provision of all aspects of lifestyle entertainment coupled with interactive
distribution. We produce the television programmes, publish the associated
books and merchandise which are then sold via our own internet and toll free
sites and live events. In New Zealand, we can use our own broadcasting
stations to publicise all our activities and products. In this way we can
both promote the group and satisfy consumer demand on many different levels
from within our own operations.'
Commenting, the owner of Actrix Hal King said: 'I am pleased to have
concluded the deal with West and am looking forward to the exciting
opportunities that the new relationship will bring. Actrix will now be able
to compete more aggressively in the New Zealand marketplace.'
Rohan Courtney,Chairman,West 175 Media Group Inc. 020 8398 7175
Mobile 07879 498 544
Peter Binns, Binns & Co. 020 7786 9600
West 175 Media Group Inc. is a world-wide media company specialising in all
aspects of lifestyle broadcasting, programmed production, merchandising,
publishing and live events. Its activities, are concentrated in the United
States, UK and New Zealand, where it employs some 200 people world-wide.
The Company's activities extend from the production of corporate and public
live events, television and consumer programme production and broadcasting, to
product fulfilment, merchandising, publishing, e-commerce and internet
West 175 owns three commercial television franchises in New Zealand
(Christchurch / CHTV Mercury TV and Dunedin / Channel 9), reaching
approximately 450,000 people, a market worth some NZ$180m.
Whilst New Zealand has a small population spread over a wide geographic area,
in terms of domain per population, it is one of the world's most networked
countries. IDC Corporation estimates that New Zealand will have one of the
highest growth rates in electronic commerce in the world and forecast that
one-third of all New Zealand consumers will be online by 2002.
In the medium term, West 175 plans to migrate its TV audience to the internet
with the help of a new age set top box which will deliver internet services
through the domestic television. Test cases are being marketed to two
separate local communities, a union of farmers and a certain Maori tribe,
which together account for approximately 80,000 householders in total.