Vodacom CEO Alan Knott-Craig Snr has recently been appointed as the acting chairman of WBS Holdings, iBurst’s parent company.
“The shareholders invited him to chair the board meetings, based on his experience within the telecoms industry,” iBurst said. Vodacom bought a 10% stake in iBurst last year, with the Vodacom CEO making it clear that they would like to gain management control over wireless broadband provider iBurst.
Alan Knott-Craig Snr’s son, Alan Knott-Craig Jnr, is the Managing Director of iBurst. He recently said that Vodacom will not gain management control over iBurst, but the company’s CEO Thami Mtshali, made it clear that ‘at the right price everything is for sale’.
Vodacom has also recently started reselling iBurst products through its official reseller channels and are also supporting the iBurst products through their data support channels.
WBS Holdings, the iBurst parent company, is owned by Richtrau, the Ellerine Brothers, Friedshelf (which is directly controlled by Blue Label Investments) and Vodacom.
Before the Vodacom transaction, Richtrau owned 60%, the Ellerine Brothers 12% and Friedshelf-Blue Label Investments 28%. Vodacom purchased a 10% stake in WBS Holdings, but the exact shareholding of the other shareholders after the Vodacom purchase is not known.
Blue Label Investments was, according to Maverick Magazine, also instrumental in putting together the Elephant consortium, which controversially bought a stake in Telkom.
With its WiMax spectrum and growing subscriber base, iBurst is an increasingly sought after company in the telecoms space, and it is not surprising that Vodacom and other like Altech have shown an interest in gaining a controlling stake in the company.