LavaNet's president buys out company
LavaNet Inc., a Honolulu-based Internet service provider, announced yesterday that it is now owned by its president, Pali Tuan W. Kaaihue.
Kaaihue, who stepped into the role of president in March, will now be the company's CEO. He has been at LavaNet since 1995.
The company had been in buyout talks with some other companies when Kaaihue stepped forward and offered to purchase it. He would not disclose the price, but confirmed that it was less than $500,000.
"There had been a couple offers that had come our way," he said. "There were a couple of mainland giants and one or two local entities that were interested. Given my position, and given the incredible staff that we have, I just decided to put my hat in."
The deal had been in the works since February, he said, and the five-member board of LavaNet and its seven shareholders approved the sale last month.
The selling shareholders are Robert Brewer, Clifton Royston, Patrick Donegan, Karen Lofstrom, Andrea Brewer, William Brewer and Ellen Brewer.
Kaaihue said he used personal savings as well a loan from Hawaii National Bank to make the purchase.
"No one knows this brand better than I do," he said. "It was important to me that we keep our employees, who built a reputation for excellent customer service, and I wanted to play an even bigger role in keeping the lava flowing. My team and I look forward to ushering in this new era of growth and being a part of LavaNet's evolution. We have very aggressive and specific plans for the future."
Approximately 17 employees work at the company.
In coming months, LavaNet, which has 9,000 subscribers and more than 4,000 business accounts, plans to expand its services, offering new types of dedicated high-speed access, a robust disaster recovery service, wireless Internet connectivity, a new Web community with live video and audio streaming of local events, and a LavaMall featuring several thousand business clients.
Kaaihue, who is part-native Hawaiian, started his career at LavaNet as a customer service representative, then rose through the ranks to become vice president, then president.
He succeeded LavaNet founder Yuka Nagashima as president three months ago. Nagashima had served as president since December 1998, and left to pursue other interests.
Besides his position at LavaNet, Kaaihue is well-known as the leader of the musical group PALI, which wrote and recorded television station KITV-4's jingle.
LavaNet, established in 1994, offers network consulting and graphic and Web design in addition to being an Internet service provider.