It has mostly been a good year for the TradeMe founder. He was back in the money when Auckland HR software company Sonar6 was sold to US company Cornerstone Ondemand for $US13 million plus $US1 million in shares. Mr Morgan held a 19.43% stake, which would have been reaped $2.72 million. He wasn’t the only NBR Rich Lister to benefit. John Holdsworth, the majority owner of Datacom, also held a smaller stake.
Meanwhile, Mr Morgan has been hauling in profits from his share of a Brazilian dairy company Leitissimo, where he and a former Fonterra executive, Simon Wallace, are generating huge returns.
Another company he has invested in, software company Vend, has attracted Berlin angel investor Point Nine Capital, which now holds 16% of the shares. Vend also has a tie up with PayPal that will let customers check into a store using Vend’s software, then make purchases via their cellphone.
Mr Morgan was still spending this year. For $1 million he bought 1.25 million shares in scented candle and beauty products company Ecoya. And with shares (through his Jasmine Invesments) he has hung on to online accounting software maker Xero where he is also on the board. He is also tied up with SmallWorlds, web-based dispatch specialist Visfleet which he chairs, and internet security software developer SMX –- also backed by NBR Rich Lister Sir Stephen Tindall.
Through JIT Hillend Investments, he owns a 2665ha farm in Wanaka. He is currently looking for a farm manager to run it.
He may not have time to run it, given his problems at Fairfax and Pacific Fibre. At the former, where he is a director (following selling TradeMe to it for $720 million, his share $227 million), the board is fighting off a bid by mining magnate Gina Rinehart to take three seats after she bought a quarter of the publishing empire.
Meanwhile, Mr Morgan’s stake in Pacific Fibre was looking shaky. With fellow Rich Listers Sir Stephen Tindall and Rod Drury, Morgan has been attempting to raise $US400 million to build an undersea cable between Sydney, Auckland and. But its deadline of mid-June came and went and by mid-July still hadn’t happened.