Barney Leaves Pacnet’s Door Swinging

May 23rd, 2012 by · 10 Comments

Pacific regional operator Pacnet has an interim leader in place following the sudden departure of longtime CEO Bill Barney. The current CFO, Brett Lay, has taken over CEO duties while the board seeks a permanent replacement. However, given the recent rumors about a bid from Indonesia's PT Telkom, it seems more likely that the search will be curtailed.

Barney's leadership run at Pacnet started back when he took the helm at Asia Global Crossing back in 2002, through the Asia Netcom years, the merger with Pacific Internet, and into today's much different world of Pacific bandwidth. Without his, shall we say, colorful leadership style, Pacnet will surely be wearing quite a different public face.  I suspect Barney already has a new gig lined up somewhere though, else why the rush?  We shall see soon enough I guess.

As for Pacnet, this turn of events does add weight to the theory that a sale is in the offing. PT Telkom's bid would make a lot of sense for them strategically, but surely there are other large operators in the region with a similar interest - maybe NTT or SingTel for example. Tata sure seems like a good fit, especially after their bid for C&W Worldwide was foiled last month.  Level 3?  Nah, they don't seem to be looking at APAC in that way just yet.

Pacnet has been busy both with capacity upgrades, building out its 'data landing stations', and integrating CDN functionality from EdgeCast.

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Categories: Mergers and Acquisitions · Undersea cables

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10 Comments So Far


  • Hmmmm..... says:

    And good sources tell me Mr. Barney was fired by phone whilst on a European trip with his Head of Public Relations. Neither had time to pack nor were they allowed to return to their offices.

    The abrupt departure has the rumor mills hot and Barney’s secretary was walked out of the company this morning.

    Something major seems to have happened as PacNet’s notice of his departure is barely civil.

  • nivek says:

    The PT Indosat deal fell thru last week according to rumour. Mr Barney has sent a brief email to staff from his private email service. No clarity on the reason for his departure though, or on Ms Wong’s.

  • Anon says:

    Fired by phone while on a US trip, actually. He was at ITW.

  • Reand says:

    Nope, he was at DataCentres 2012 in France.

  • Anon says:

    No, that was this week (Wed/Thu) and I knew about his departure already on Monday, and I’m hardly close to the situation. The week prior he was at ITW Mon-Wed, ‘cos I saw him there. So the firing was somewhere between ITW and DC 2012, but either way it was before DC 2012. anyway, the point is that he’s gone, and the rumour mill is saying it was in large part because he was unwilling to sell the company and the owners ran out of patience. If that is true, then the timing of his being let go and the rumours the Telkom deal had fallen through line up.

    Anyway, as I said I’m not close to the situation and there’s a lot of rumour and conjecture out there, I’m sure the real story will seep out eventually.

  • Doubtful says:

    What makes no sense is Barney’s head of Marketing (Ms. Wong) was let go at the same time. Other than the fact she was a long term BB loyalist why would anyone bother to fire a tier 2 Director at the same time? Why no other Director ?

    Barney was out of the country when terminated and it was done by phone Indicating an urgency that couldnt wait 2 or 3 days.

    The frustration of the owners is obvious – the rumored offer by Telkom (as it includes debt) is well below what they were looking for in their previous IPO attempts.

  • Dorley says:

    Even if he gets to sell the company, he’s still gonna be out. No surprises there. Why his PR head got the axe too is a wonder.

  • Insider ... says:

    Barney went from ITW to DC2012 and never returned to Hong Kong. Same for his Head of PR. However it doesn’t seem to coincide with any Telkom activity as Telkom’s interest in PacNet was well known for some time and hotly debated internally.

    As an aside, insiders weight the odds of a successful sale to Telkom at less than 50:50 as ongoing due diligence seems to be dramatically reducing estimates of PacNet’s value and some senior managers think the bid is dead already.

    On the push side, the investors want a sale at almost any price. Their frustration is seen in the appointment of an experienced Board to oversee operations and to actively canvass bids not only from Telkom but other carriers over the last months.

    What is still not clear is the reason why Barney and his Head of PR were both “exited” at the same time and in such a perfunctory manner. Barney was often heard to say he was too expensive to fire as his golden parachute was so lucrative. That was the standard response to the last 5 years of PE fund management. Maybe something triggered the decision other than the Telkom bid ? Time will tell.

  • Richard C says:

    Just saw the posts … Barney was in London on Monday morning and his departure was announced later the same day in Asia. Obviously it had to be done by phone.

    Read the DataCentreDynamics blog … ” Pacnet’s CEO Bill Barney has left the company in what appears to be an unexpected departure, announced the same day Barney met with DatacenterDynamics in London to discuss the company’s Asia Pacific operations.”

    Still no news on the fate of the rest of PacNet Management and a further downgrade by Moody’s on the more than $300mn debt they carry expected this week. Net losses for this Quarter expected to be a little over $24mn and further reducing the value of the speculated Telkom offer which is debt inclusive.

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