5G Networks CEO Joe Demase assumes Webcentral interim CEO role despite delayed acquisition

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5G Networks CEO Joe Demase assumes Webcentral interim CEO role despite delayed acquisition
Joe Demase (5G Networks, Webcentral)

Webcentral has announced that 5G Networks chief executive Joe Demase has been appointed as interim CEO.

The appointment was made following the repayment of some of its debt using a secured loan from 5G Networks, which was part of the latter’s terms in its acquisition bid.

Demase replaces Brett Fenton, who held the top role since February this year. Andrew Reitzer has also stepped down as board chairman, but will stay on as part of Webcentral’s independent board committee that will oversee the acquisition. Current 5GN independent director Joe Gangi was named as his replacement as chairman.

These changes were made despite 5G Networks still not officially the owner of Webcentral, as the telco provider was ordered to extend the acquisition offer period to another week.

Following a complaint by investment and financial services company Keybridge Capital, 5GN was ordered by the President of the Takeovers Panel to extend the offer period by one week, from 27 October to 3 November.

Last week, Keybridge raised issues to the Takeovers Panel on 5GN’s acquisition bid for Webcentral, alleging the telco’s statements "create a highly coercive effect on shareholders to accept the [5G Networks] bid to cause control to pass in a manner inconsistent with that of an efficient, competitive and informed market".

Keybridge, a major Webcentral shareholder with a 9 percent share, also alleged 5GN’s proposal was anti-competitive and contravened the Corporations Act 2001.

The panel sided with Keybridge, ordering 5GN not to process any acceptances received on and from 23 October 2020 in relation to its Webcentral acquisition bid, and to extend the offer period to at least one week.

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