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Strategic set to move into wireless tangle

By Nicholas Bryant

Thursday 20th April 2000

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Wellington-based venture capitalist Strategic Capital is planning to join the race to cash in on the next big thing - wireless internet.

Strategic, an offshoot of property and finance company Strategic Investment Group, has signed a conditional agreement to buy 50% of a South Island-based technology and media company with plans to set up a national wireless internet network.

Strategic's chief executive, Paul Bublitz, would not identify the company.

It was unclear whether the new venture will be a direct competitor to Walker Datavision's Walker Wireless or Wilson Neill's Radionet. But Mr Bublitz said it would have a national focus.

Strategic Capital, set up late last year as a subsidiary of Strategic Investment Group, had identified wireless as a growth business with room for more players. The deal is the first of five on Strategic Capital's drawing board, with the four others - one of them a foreign company - involved in technology.

It is one of a growing group of venture capital outfits looking to cash in on technology but that does not bother Mr Bublitz as Strategic Investment Group has spread its risk over a number of ventures.

The group began in 1992 as Trident Property but changed its name last year to reflect a shift in business focus from property to wider investment.

Its major shareholders are Mr Bublitz, former All Black and executive director Jock Hobbs and Canadian-born property investor John Prendergast.

A quiet mover in the commercial property industry the company had assets of more than $100 million by 1997.

It has a syndication arm, Strategic Property; a development funding arm, Strategic Finance; and Strategic Development Trust.

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