Firm accused of piracy by Sky TV receives $10 million offer from China
My Box founder Krish Reddy says a $10m takeover offer is “very attractive to say the least for such a young company”.
The 29 year-old owner of a Hamilton firm that is being sued by Sky TV says he has received a $10 million takeover offer for his business from China.
Krish Reddy says his company My Box NZ has sold about 20,000 Android media players to consumers in 12 countries and is “rapidly growing”.
Sky Television is suing My Box saying its devices come “pre-loaded with piracy software” and that My Box promotes them as a way to access television content that Sky has exclusive rights to in New Zealand.
Auckland High Court judge Warwick Smith reserved his decision when the case went to court earlier this month.
Reddy said Sky’s objections had helped publicise his business and enabled it to build an international business from New Zealand.
“We have to thank Sky. If they had left us alone we would just have been selling a few boxes, but the controversy made us world famous.”
He said he was seriously considering the offer from the Chinese firm, which he declined to name, and had been given 21 days to respond.
The Chinese firm had a representative at the Auckland court hearing, he said.
Reddy said he was confident My Box would win Sky lawsuit, but he believed My Box would be liable for any damages if it didn’t, under the terms of the takeover offer.
“It makes no difference to them whether we win or lose, because their operations won’t be in New Zealand.
Reddy said My Box’s devices “captured streams from offshore” but it did not control how customers used them.
My Box had not itself developed any of the software on the devices, he said.
Asked whether they helped customers find streams of pirated content, Reddy responded: “You are not going to get me to say that”.
“It does find movies, TV shows, sports etc – exactly what we advertise on our website, Sky content as well, yes, that is as far as I will say.”
Reddy said the legal issues were the same as if someone used an Apple cellphone “to go to a website”.
“Apple is not liable for what you are doing.”
Reddy’s other ventures under the umbrella business Von Roy Group include handyman business Handyman Pro and massage business Six Sense at which Reddy is a senior therapist.
Sky TV says My Box devices come “pre-loaded with piracy software”.
The Employment Relations Authority ordered Six Sense to pay massage therapist Joline Blyde $17,000 in December, after finding the company had breached its duty to her.
The ERA ruled Reddy had reneged on a promise to promote her in return for extra work, that Six Sense had unpaid her $6200 in wages and Kiwisaver contributions, and that Blyde had been constructively dismissed.
Reddy said he believed the matter was dealt with by his lawyers in August.
“We have a human resources team and a legal team that deal with these sort of issues, so I don’t have a lot of involvement in it.”
Reddy said his ventures were funding the construction of a school in India and had also worked closely with organisations that helped the homeless in Hamilton.
One of the conditions of the Chinese offer for My Box NZ was that it would close as a New Zealand business, he said. There were two other conditions which he would not disclose.
Sky spokeswoman Melodie Robinson responded that “if the alleged sale is an attempt to avoid the consequences of judgement it will not succeed, as Sky’s claim relates to the misleading claims Reddy has already made to thousands of Kiwis”.