Leisureplanet buys into broadband wireless firm

Leisureplanet Holdings, Ltd. has acquired 33% of Magnolia Broadband, Inc., of New York and Tel Aviv, a company developing broadband wireless fixed-access applications. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Leisureplanet Holdings, Ltd. (Nasdaq:LPHL) is a publicly traded company, focusing on investing in non-US, Internet-related businesses. Its current holdings include a majority stake in Leisureplanet.com, an Internet travel services provider, as well as businesses in various industries, including value-added convenience foods and leisure products. The company recently announced that it is in negotiations to sell its stake in its South African listed subsidiary. The current value of this stake is approximately $38 million.Magnolia is a start-up company founded by Haim Harel, a recognized wireless expert. His career encompasses experience in the electronic warfare arm of the Israel Defense Forces and 13 years in a number of senior management positions at Tadiran, a leading Israeli electronics company. Harel was the founder, president and CEO of Nexus Telecom Ltd., and more recently was founder, president and CEO of Wireless Online, Inc.
Magnolia is developing broadband fixed wireless access products that are anticipated to provide broadband Internet access in unlicensed radio spectrums at highly competitive prices. Magnolia, headquartered in the New York area, has announced it will conduct its research and development through a subsidiary in Israel and anticipates bringing products to market within the next 18 months.
“Magnolia offers us an opportunity to play a significant role in fulfilling the potential of a smaller company similar to the role we played with Leisureplanet.com,” said Clive Kabatznik, CEO of Leisureplanet Holdings. “We are confident that we have a base on which to build in a market where we can help Magnolia become a major player. Our track record in bringing Leisureplanet.com from an unknown entity to its current position as a leading international online travel services company with alliances with Yahoo!, Lycos, InfoSpace and CNN speaks for itself.”
Magnolia is planning to provide Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) with Broadband last-mile wireless access. High-speed data voice and video that bypasses landlines including internal building wiring, will enable CLECs to provide highly competitive services.
Last week, Leisureplanet.com, announced the launch of its redesigned Web site in the U.S. market. The company said the launch is the first step in Leisureplanet.com’s plan to rollout 30 country-specific websites, all in local language during 2000.
“The launch of our new Web site in the U.S. is an important first step toward the fulfillment of our vision to provide the ultimate leisure travel experience to our customers,” said Pierre Kleinhans, CEO of Leisureplanet.com. “The new Web site provides us with the ideal platform for the addition of further travel products, community and functionality, extending the value-added travel services that Leisureplanet.com already offers to its customers.”
Leisureplanet.com is planning further product extensions and functionality throughout the year. Kleinhans said his company will be developing an international community of travelers and experts and augmenting its services with additional reservation products such as packages, travel-related gear and content.
This week, Leisureplanet.com announced further expansion of its fulfilment partner network into Belgium, Finland, Israel, The Netherlands and Sweden. Leisureplanet.com’s fulfilment partners are local travel suppliers that are contracted to provide travel services to Leisureplanet.com’s customers.
“As our fulfilment partnerships expand into new markets, Leisureplanet.com is drawing closer to its objective of establishing leadership through global provision of localised travel services,” Kleinhans said. “Leisureplanet.com’s growing network of local travel partners benefit Leisureplanet’s travellers by providing local travel products and customer service, which is an important part of our objective to provide the ultimate leisure travel experience to our customers.”