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iiNet swallows Internode a month early

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iiNet has announced that its acquisition of Internode has been completed a month ahead of schedule.

The $AU105 million purchase first announced in December was subject to “administrative conditions” which iiNet says have “now been satisfied” (suggesting, perhaps, that the usual business of trying to work out whether a company’s accounts are actually accurate was easier in Internode’s case than iiNet anticipated).

iiNet CEO Michael Malone says the acquisition has been “well received” both by Internode’s customers and its staff.

Internode founder Simon Hackett was also quick to comment on the process, noting on a Whirlpool forum that the two companies “overachieved (in a good way)”. He also reiterated that for now, the two operations remain at arm’s-length.

Whether Internode remains a separate operation in the long term, Hackett could not guarantee. With a long list of matters still under discussion, he said the completion of the acquisition was “the end of the beginning” rather than the other way around.

The purchase is part of an ongoing consolidation at the upper end of Australia’s Internet services market as the National Broadband Network rolls out. Regardless of the long-term fate of Australia’s hundreds of small retail-only ISPs, the second tier operators no longer see their ability to build and operate DSLAM networks as a market differentiator.

Whether the consolidation remains a good idea in the long term will presumably depend on whether a change of government would see an abandonment of the NBN. Yesterday, opposition leader Tony Abbott reiterated his party’s opposition to the government spending “$AU50 billion” on the project, promising instead to redirect funding to road-building.

Mr Abbott did not explain, and was not asked by the ignorant hand-fed lapdogs that comprise the Canberra press gallery how shifting an off-budget investment to an on-budget spend could be achieved without harming the Federal Government’s financial position. ®

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