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Apple's asset-shuffling puts $270m value on PowerbyProxi

Tuesday 22nd October 2019

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Multinational tech company Apple valued PowerbyProxi at almost $270 million as it shifted the Kiwi firm's assets to a related US entity, more than nine times what investors put into the wireless power developer.

Apple bought PowerbyProxi in 2017 for an undisclosed sum, and while the Overseas Investment Office has remained mum on what the world's biggest technology firm paid, annual accounts filed to the Companies Office show a hefty premium to the book value of PowerbyProxi's platform technology, patents and licences when they were sold to a related Apple entity. 

PowerbyProxi's related party sales to Apple totalled $269.7 million in the March 2018 year, including a $246.3 million gain on the sale of its intangible assets. They were disposed of at a book value of $21.5 million, and the firm's property, plant and equipment were sold for a net $1.5 million. 

The Kiwi firm, which developed wireless charging technology, had valued its intangible assets at $5.2 million after amortisation as at March 31, 2017, before the Apple deal was done. 

PowerbyProxi was spun out of the University of Auckland in 2007 by founder Fady Mishriki, who started work on the idea while he was still a student. 

Before Apple's takeover, equity contributions totalled $27.9 million from a suite of investors including Samsung's venture capital arm, New York-listed TE Connectivity and Wellington-based venture capital investor Movac. 

The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund was also among PowerbyProxi's backers. The government venture capital investor counted the year ended June 30, 2018 as its best for cash realisations from asset sales at $42 million. That included the PowerbyProxi exit, as well as selling out of Phitek, Open Cloud, Pukeko Pictures, SLI Systems, KonnectNet and GRC SinoGreen. 

In their October 2017 report recommending Apple's application be approved, OIO officials noted that only some of PowerbyProxi's shareholders were aware of the proposed deal, although they were enough to exercise drag-along rights in the firm's constitution. 

PowerbyProxi paid $254.6 million in dividends in the March 2019 year, leaving it with equity of $5.6 million, largely comprising of cash in the bank. 

The accounts show Apple now plans to liquidate the New Zealand holding company, given it has stopped trading. 


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