Finance

Maister family: Why we scooped up Smart50 finalist 4Cabling

Kirsten Robb /

Sydney-based cabling company 4Cabling, the eight-year old business started by entrepreneur Nicole Kersh, has been scooped up by family-owned private equity firm Gernis Holdings.

Gernis managing director Jonathan Maister told SmartCompany he “struck a deal” with Kersh for the business after a mutual contact indicated the young entrepreneur was interested in selling all or part of the company she founded when she was 21 years old.

The Maister family earned their fortune after Dennis Maister founded and then sold Yellow Pages South Africa, one of the largest privately owned corporations in Africa.

Maister declined to disclose the sum paid for 4Cabling, but said Gernis had purchased 100% of the business and its assets, and would be keeping on its 20 or so staff.

“We love the culture,” says Maister.

He says the business is on an expansion trajectory and will not be cutting back on resources.

“We’ve made it very clear to [staff] we want to move to the next level.”

4Cabling, which started life as an online wholesaler in 1996, has moved into the design, manufacture, import and distribution of end-to-end cabling products.

Maister says 4Cabling, which turns over $10 million a year, had an attractive business model with “fantastic returns” and presented a great opportunity to expand the Gernis portfolio into a growing sector.

“We like the space. We think Wi-Fi, internet and connectivity play is going to be huge,” says Maister, who has plans to further expand 4Cabling’s skillset and product offering in coming years.

“With our experience, we knew we could take it to a new level over the next five years.”

Maister says Gernis has brought in a new director for the business, although the company would have been open to Kersh staying on board.

“We would have loved to work with her to be honest. But it’s very hard for a founder of the business to have new people coming in. I think it was best she looked for other opportunities.”

Kersh recently told BRW she has become “less enthusiastic” about manufacturing and has started a new web content venture called The Content Folk.

Maister says Gernis will continue to pursue acquisition targets in the connectivity space and consider consolidating other companies with 4Cabling.

“Or we will do it organically, we have the means,” he says.

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Kirsten Robb

Kirsten Robb is a former journalist at SmartCompany. Previously, she worked at News Corp as a property reporter for Leader Newspapers and the Herald Sun, and holds a Masters of Journalism at Melbourne University.

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