Ozemail buys SA ISP

Internet service provider (ISP), OzEmail is continuing to tighten its hold on the local ISP market despite moves by MCI WorldCom to takeover the company.

The company announced on Monday it purchased a 60 per cent share in South Australian ISP, SE Net, for $A1.5 million. In the deal, OzEmail has the option to acquire SE Net's remaining 40 per cent stake within the next two and a half years.

In a similar agreement, OzEmail already holds a 55 per cent stake in Brisbane ISP, PowerUp with the option to fully acquire the company after two years.

SE Net is South Australia's largest regional ISP with some 16,000 customers.

Michael Ward, OzEmail's vice president, corporate relations said SE Net will continue to be run and managed by its current staff, although OzEmail does have a major equity stake in the business.

"We want to keep SE Net being run and managed by [its] people," Ward said.

"We don't intend to integrate SE Net customers into our customers tomorrow - we're happy to maintain the independent nature of the company."

Ward said OzEmail is always looking for other ISPs and "wouldn't want to rule out" acquisitions in other states and regions of Australia.

Ward also said MCI WorldCom's proposed takeover of OzEmail, currently in the pipelines, has not been "affected in any way" by the acquisition.

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