The investigation related to whether a requested change to BigAir’s board was the result of collaboration between a shareholder, the CEO and CFO of BigAir.
In an interview with CRN, Jason Ashton, CEO and managing director, said the panel proceedings were subject to no comment.
“The matter was a shareholder wanted to be put on the board of BigAir and a couple of the directors weren’t comfortable. It went before the Takeovers Panel who gave the green light for him to become a director. It was unfortunate it had to go before the Takeover Panel," he said.
The allegations stemmed from a proposal by Vivian Stewart of Vorpal Pty Ltd - holder of 8.5 percent of shares at BigAir - that a general meeting be held to discuss his appointment as a director of BigAir and the removal of Ross McCall as a director, in early May.
The matter wasn’t cleared during a BigAir general meeting and an application, dated 23 May, was handed into the Takeovers Panel to investigate claims that the changes to the board was a collaboration between Stewart, Jason Ashton (CEO and managing director) and Patrick Choi (CFO and company secretary).
All three denied any alleged association and on 30 May, the Panel found there wasn’t enough material to warrant an investigation to establish an association between Stewart, Ashton and Choi.
Ashton claimed the issue had no direct impact on BigAir’s customers or the business itself.
“It was very much business as usual. We are a growing company with more and more channel partners. BigAir has well over 50 resellers and more importantly the number of wholesale and interconnect partners has grown to around 30 partners. The interconnect network allows IT resellers, ISPs and integrators to connect directly to our network,” he said.
According to Ashton there will be more global wireless customers than fixed voice customers over the next couple of years.
“If you look at Telstra’s Next G network, wireless is obviously a critical part of Telstra’s strategy. The fact that it has endorsed wireless technology shows wireless is a reality,” he said.
Ashton claimed that wireless has proven to be dominant in voice communication and Internet technology.
“There’s not enough fixed line and wireless is much more affordable to build and run.”
BigAir plays down internal board dispute
By Lilia Guan on Jun 3, 2008 3:57PM
The Australian Government Takeovers Panel has quashed an internal investigation into allegations about the board of wireless broadband provider, BigAir.