Dotcom's Mega to use New Zealand shell for $179 million listing

WELLINGTON Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:43pm GMT

Kim Dotcom gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters in Auckland January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Nigel Marple

Kim Dotcom gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters in Auckland January 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Nigel Marple

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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The New Zealand based cloud storage company Mega Ltd, founded by Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, plans a NZ$210 million ($179.4 million) listing on the local stock exchange through a reverse takeover of a local investment shell company.

TRS, an inactive investment company, said on Tuesday it has a conditional agreement to buy Mega Ltd through a share issue to Mega shareholders, which will result in them holding 99 percent of TRS.

The plan will see the issue of 700 million new TRS shares at NZ30 cents each, after which there would be a share consolidation.

TRS currently has more than 1.1 billion shares on issue, which last traded at NZ$0.002 - a fifth of one NZ cent - valuing the company at NZ$2.2 million.

Mega Ltd, founded in 2013 by Dotcom and several other people involved in the now closed Megaupload, offers encrypted, cloud based data storage. It claims about 7 million registered users.

Official records show its shareholders include Dotcom's wife, through a trust, with a 26 percent stake. Dotcom is not listed a shareholder nor a director, but on the Mega website is called principal strategist.

Dotcom, who also goes by the name of Kim Schmitz, is fighting a bid to extradite him to the United States to face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering.

U.S. authorities allege the Megaupload website, which was shut down in 2012, cost film studios and record companies more than $500 million and generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds by letting users store and share copyrighted material, such as movies and TV shows.

Last week, New Zealand's highest court dealt Dotcom a blow by knocking back an appeal for access to all the evidence on which the extradition application is based.

TRS said it had scrapped a 2013 plan to be used as a listing vehicle for Cornerstone Mineral Corporation Ltd, which was planning a mining project for silica and gold in the south of New Zealand.

($1 = 1.1707 New Zealand dollars)

(Reporting by Gyles Beckford; editing by Tom Brown)

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