The news that TPG would buy iiNet this morning came into our news feeds like a wrecking ball. It's a massive acquisition that many expected would go the other way. It's a unique acquisition in that it raises more questions than it answers.
Here are our big questions.
Does TPG oppose additional piracy regulation and data retention in the same way iiNet does?
TPG has form when it comes to policing piracy. For some time now it has sent customers notices informing them that they've been breaching the copyright of studios when downloading protected material, which puts them at the diametric opposite end of the spectrum to iiNet's views on piracy.
Even in the face of additional government legislation, iiNet has put itself between the government and its customers in a bid to protect them from so-called Big Copyright.
Right now iiNet is fighting a battle in the Federal Court against the studio behind Dallas Buyers Club, which sees the ISP refusing to hand over data on customers who have been allegedly caught pirating the film. iiNet is the only ISP in the case, with other Aussie ISPs happily handing over the data on their customers.
Whether copyright notice-serving TPG will agree with iiNet's "boo fuck you" stance on copyright remains to be seen. The same goes for data retention, which iiNet also has taken a strong stand against.
Will the customer service levels of iiNet suffer?
Let's face it, TPG has a bit of an image problem, especially when it comes to customer service.
iiNet is great for customer service, with social media channels, local call centres and prompt response times. TPG is decidedly less so.
Of course TPG will always say it has the highest levels of customer support possible, but only time will tell if the excellent support from iiNet suffers as a result of the acquisition.
Will TPG and iiNet continue to trade as separate companies post the acquisition, or will one absorb the other?
iiNet is known for buying up boutique ISPs and slowly integrating them into its own brand. Some of them — like Internode and Westnet — stick around, offering their own services and customer service support, but at the end of the day it's a whiteboxed version of iiNet.
TPG also has a string of acquisitions under its belt, including PIPE Networks and the consumer arm of AAPT, but whether it will integrate a massive brand like iiNet into its own brand stable remains to be seen.
We've asked all these questions of iiNet this morning, and will update you if we hear back.