Commander Communications had wrong number on assets
IF Commander Communications was genuinely interested in offloading its assets before the banks pulled the plug, then Data#3 managing director John Grant was knocking on the wrong door.
Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank appointed receivers to the troubled telco late last week, after refusing to grant Commander an extension to pay off more than $300 million debt.
The banking syndicate had lost faith in the board and management -- led by CEO Amanda Lacaze -- after they failed to execute on a company-wide restructure, including the botched sell-off of several non-core assets.
Data#3's Mr Grant was stunned by an announcement in late June that Commander had been unable to find an interested buyer for its IT recruitment business, Affinity.
The technology firm tried repeatedly to contact Commander's management about buying the business but received no response.
"We registered our interest when they tried to sell the business late last year," Mr Grant said. "We did the same earlier this year, and we continue to follow it, but we've not yet had an engagement with them. I continue to this day to be dismayed."
Another potential buyer, IT recruitment firm Clarius, heard Affinity was on the market only after Ms Lacaze announced the sale had fallen through.
"From our perspective we are always on the look-out for small bolt-on acquisitions," said Clarius managing director Diana Eilert.
"We would have been interested in that kind of business."
Commander's sales processes came under scrutiny late last year when it initiated a $150 million fire sale of its assets to pay off up to $70 million debt, but it failed to attract a single interested buyer.
The first creditors meeting is next Tuesday.