Listed Australian company Solution 6 has sold down its holding in ecommerce software developer Exonet to 30 per cent.

The remaining 70 per cent is now owned by a management team led by New Zealander Tim Molloy, who was part of the Solution 6 team which bought Exonet in 2000 for about A$30 million ($32 million at the time) and has since managed Exonet's Australian office.

As part of the restructure, it spun off Exonet's Enprise direct sales and consulting division to a group of former executives led by Exonet co-founder Mark Loveys.

As Enprise Solutions, Loveys will trade as an Exonet channel partner.

Loveys said the price paid for Enprise was "less than they paid me" for his original 20 per cent stake. He said the Enprise division's turnover last year was about $1.2 million, about half of Exonet's total, and the new company aimed to do $2 million of business this year.

Solution 6 bought Exonet at the height of the dotcom boom when it was pursuing former chief executive Chris Tyler's vision of becoming a global e-business software producer.

Tyler's replacement, Neil Gamble, returned the company to its original business making practice management software for accountants and other professionals.

Subsidiaries which did not fit that model were sold off. Iguana, which provides share market information to web sites, was sold back to its New Zealand founders early last year. The other shareholders are Bruce Carr, who runs the Australian operation, and development director Steve Southern, who with Loveys and co-founders Maurice Bryham and David McKee Wright, came out of PC Direct.

The company is also moving from its 1 Queen St offices to College Hill. Enprise Solutions has set up in Mount Wellington.

Molloy said the Enprise division was set up to sell Exonet direct to large customers and manage the implementations and ongoing support.

Exonet would concentrate on developing of the core software product and distributing it through channel partners in New Zealand, Australia and Asia.

It also made an initial foray into Britain looking for suitable channel partners.

The Exonet 6000 product competes at the high end of the mid-market with Microsoft's Great Plains business software and even with enterprise resource planning products like JD Edwards and SAP, but can also be used by very small companies.

Molloy said Exonet had more than 1000 customers. Loveys left Exonet after selling his shares to manage Datasquirt, a company he formed with Bryham and McKee Wright to develop text messaging applications.

But he did not completely turn his back on the software he developed, originally as a client-server based business control system for PC Direct, and registered his interest when Solution 6 reviewed the company's future.

"They had a strong team, but I could see a lot of key people were starting to peel off," Loveys said.



Solution 6 Group