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James Thomson is the editor of BRW. Previously he was editor and publisher of SmartCompany and a senior editor at Business Spectator. He writes regularly on Australia's wealthiest entrepreneurs and has deep expertise in small business and the mid market.

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Pay day: iiNet’s Michael Malone reaps $28.5m in share sale

Published 30 August 2013 09:45, Updated 31 August 2013 07:14

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Pay day: iiNet’s Michael Malone reaps $28.5m in share sale

Michael Malone, the founder of iiNet, has reduced his total shareholding in the company to 5.6 per cent. Photo: Michele Mossop

Michael Malone, the founder of Australia’s largest independent internet service provider iiNet, has sold $28.5 million worth of shares in the company in a surprise move.

The sale of the 3.1 per cent stake in the company reduces Malone’s total shareholding to 5.6 per cent, or 11 million shares.

The deal was handled by Credit Suisse and RBS Morgans. The amount raised suggests Malone received around $5.70 a share.

“Post the release of our strong FY13 results, I have taken the opportunity to sell some shares in iiNet in the interests of diversification. My family and I continue to have a substantial personal investment in iiNet and I am very confident in the company’s continuing growth trajectory,” Malone said in a statement.

Malone wasn’t the only seller last night.

Simon Hackett, the director of iiNet, who is best known as the founder of ISP Internode, also sold down his stake.

He raised $34.4 million by selling 6 million shares. His stake in the business halves to 3.7 per cent.

Interesting times for iiNet

The shares sales come after a busy period for iiNet.

On August 5, the company announced it was buying South Australian ISP Adam Internet for $60 million, and two weeks later launched a new brand called Jiva, which will offer a so-called all-you-can-eat unlimited broadband and phone service offer for $79.

On August 21, the company reported a 64 per cent rise in net profit to $60.94 million and underlying earnings of $187.01 million, up 29 per cent on the previous year.

Malone’s next big target is the business market. He told BRW this week that internet telephony (VoIP) will be iiNet’s key weapon for attracting SME customers.

“SMEs are overwhelmingly using traditional telephony and they’re still paying 18 cents a minute for long-distance phone, so we don’t have anything to lose in this space,” Malone says.

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