INDEPENDENT NEWS

Advantage in joint venture with Pacific Retail

Published: Mon 18 Oct 1999 12:49 AM
Advantage in joint venture with Pacific Retail
to create New Zealand's first Internet SuperSite
Auckland - 18 October 1999 - Advantage Group Limited (NZSE: ADV) today announced it agreed to enter into a joint venture with leading retail company Pacific Retail Group (NZSE: PRG) to invest in New Zealand's first Internet SuperSite, FlyingPig.co.nz.
Advantage has agreed to take a 25% shareholding in Orion Ventures Ltd, which will plan, build, stock and manage FlyingPig.co.nz. Orion has also entered into licence arrangements with leading retailer Whitcoulls. This is the first time that an e-commerce company has partnered with traditional retailers to invest in a significant online presence in New Zealand. FlyingPig.co.nz is expected to debut in late November in time for Christmas trading.
FlyingPig.co.nz is in the process of readying to launch with one million book titles and New Zealand's largest range of videos, software and home/office stationery, sourced from New Zealand, the US and the UK. Music, computers, computer peripherals, electronics, appliances and a range of other goods and services such as consumer finance, sharebroking and insurance will quickly follow. FlyingPig.co.nz is also in discussions with a number of other premier brands, both locally and internationally.
"This investment will allow us the flexibility to leverage Advantage's position as one of the largest e-commerce companies in Australasia," says Chairman Evan Christian. "Not only will we derive income from the development work we undertake in building the site, we will also gain significant capital appreciation as a cornerstone investor in Orion."
"By partnering with Pacific Retail we complement our own e-commerce capabilities," says Advantage CEO Greg Cross. "Our core expertise is in Internet applications, e-commerce, retail solutions and transaction processing. Pacific Retail Group has all of Noel Leeming, Bond & Bond and Computer City's expertise in brand management, retail finance, processes and supply chain management. Add capital and management to these and you have a recipe for a great e-commerce business. By pooling Advantage's intellectual property with Pacific Retail's we get to participate in a significant Internet start-up.
"Joint ventures like this are a superb way for traditional bricks and mortar companies to establish an online presence," he adds. "Rather than trying to create an online business from scratch, a joint venture allows them to quickly leverage their own brand, intellectual property and market strengths alongside Advantage's e-commerce capabilities.
"Advantage is building a one-stop shop for e-commerce in Australasia," says Stefan Preston, Executive Director of Pacific Retail Group. "Our expertise is in retailing, not technology, so we desire a long-term partnership with the largest player and the strongest e-commerce team."
"The global trend for businesses moving to integrate the Internet into their business is to look to outside technology partners for end-to-end e-commerce solutions," says Cross. "This model provides the partners with new revenue opportunities and new ways of reaching customers and enhancing customer relationships. By combining our intellectual property in e-commerce with that of leading retail operators Pacific Retail, we will create a compelling online retail offering to New Zealand consumers in the shape of FlyingPig.co.nz.
ENDS
Company Background
Advantage Group Limited, an NZSE listed company, is a leading supplier of e-commerce and transaction processing solutions in New Zealand, Australia and throughout the Southern Hemisphere. The company has three business units: business-to-business e-commerce, retail solutions and point-of-sale equipment. It provides web development capabilities, software development, transaction processing and funds transfer capabilities to enable end-to-end e-commerce solutions. For more information, please visit www.advantagegroup.co.nz.

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