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Pacnet fires CEO Bill Barney 

Hong Kong-based regional telco Pacnet has sacked long-serving CEO Bill Barney, the company announced today.

CFO Brett Lay has been appointed acting CEO while the firm searches for a replacement.

The Pacnet board, headed by newly-appointed chairman James Ousley, did not give a reason for Barney’s removal, but no doubt it is because of its unsuccessful IPO attempt last year and inability since to find a trade buyer.

Early this month Indonesia’s PT Telkom was reported to have formally bid for Pacnet. Telkom denied the report but acknowledged its interest in the business.

Since 2006, Pacnet has been owned by private equity firms Ashmore Investment Management, Spinnaker Capital and Clearwater Capital.

Barney, a well-known industry figure, had headed the company’s predecessor Asia Netcom - formed out of the Asia Global Crossing bankruptcy– since 2003. The carrier merged with Singapore-based Pacific Internet in 2007 to form Pacnet.

But Moody’s cut Pacnet’s B1 credit rating to negative last October, citing “worse-than-expected operating performance” in the second quarter, Bloomberg reported. A month earlier, in characteristically outspoken fashion, the ebullient Barney said it was “not a bad time” to explore acquisitions in the range of $100 million to $500 million.

Pacnet has extensive regional cable assets, but it has struggled because it lacks the scale, partnerships and financial depth of larger rivals such as Tata, BT, AT&T and NTT Communications.


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