Story image

Spark's Revera sued by consultant over $3.1 million commission fee

09 Feb 15

Revera, a data centre company, has been sued by a consultant who claims he missed out on $3.1 million in commission fees when the business was sold to Spark New Zealand in 2013.

Wilhelmus Giesbers, director of Wellington-based consultancy Prophecy Networks, was hired by Revera, then known as Rock Group, in 2007 to provide restructuring advice and preparation for a possible sale. Under the contract, Giesbers would be paid $25,000 if the highest bid was below $20 million, or if no bids were received, while anything above that would earn a commission. The fee hasn't been paid.

At the time of the contract Hewlett Packard New Zealand, the local arm of the international software and computer business, was considering buying the group, but withdrew its offer around early 2008. Spark bought the business six years later for $96.5 million. 

Appearing in the Wellington High Court before Justice Tim Brewer, Revera's lawyer James Craig said the $25,000 base fee wasn't in dispute but a larger commission was. Craig said Giesbers work for Revera effectively ended in November 2007, when he completed restructuring advice and produced an information memorandum on the company for potential sellers.

To claim commission on a sale years later to Spark was “commercially absurd”, Craig said. After the sale to HP fell over, the two major shareholders at the time, Wayne Norrie and Roger Cockayne, told Giesbers they would "cool their heels" on selling the company, the court heard today. 

Colin Carruthers, lawyer for Giesbers, said Revera had never terminated the contract, which was still in force at the time Spark, then Telecom Corp, acquired the business.  

During Giesbers’ appearance in the witness box, Justice Brewer questioned whether he had thought of a timeframe for his work for Revera, and just when the “no bids received” clause of his contract might come into effect.

Also in dispute is whether Norrie and Cockayne orally terminated the contract with Prophecy Networks, which Giesbers claims never took place.

The trial continues. 

Gartner names LogRhythm leader in SIEM solutions
Security teams increasingly need end-to-end SIEM solutions with native options for host- and network-level monitoring.
Cylance makes APIs available in endpoint detection offering
Extensive APIs enable security teams to more efficiently view, enrich, and contextualise real-time intelligence collected at the endpoint to keep systems secure.
How Schneider Electric aims to simplify IT management
With IT Expert, Schneider Electric aims to ensure secure, vendor agnostic, wherever-you-go monitoring and visibility of all IoT-enabled physical infrastructure assets.
SolarWinds adds SDN monitoring support to network management portfolio
SolarWinds announced a broad refresh to its network management portfolio, as well as key enhancements to the Orion Platform. 
Preparing for the future of work – growing big ideas from small spaces
We’ve all seen it: our offices are changing from the traditional four walls - to no walls. A need to reduce real estate costs is a key driver, as is enabling a more diverse and agile workforce.
JASK prepares for global rollout of their AI-powered ASOC platform
The JASK ASOC platform automates alert investigations, supposedly freeing the SOC analyst to do what machines can’t. 
Pitfalls to avoid when configuring cloud firewalls
Flexibility and granularity of security controls is good but can still represent a risk for new cloud adopters that don’t recognise some of the configuration pitfalls.
How AI can fundamentally change the business landscape
“This is an extremely interesting if not pivotal time to discuss how AI is being deployed and leveraged, both in business and at home.”