Controversial business My Box sold to Chinese buyer

My Box was sold to a Chinese firm for $12.5m, its founder announced on Anzac Day.

The Hamilton-based firm that is being sued by Sky TV over piracy claims has been sold to Chinese buyers for $12.5m.

My Box founder Krish? Reddy announced on Thursday the sale meant the company would wrap up its New Zealand operations in the next 90 days, and its six employees would be out of a job. He would not comment on the identity of the Chinese firm.

Reddy said last month the company had sold 20,000 Android media players to consumers in 12 countries and was “rapidly growing”. He said the number of My Box units sold had grown by tens of thousands since last month. In March, Reddy said a Chinese firm had offered to buy the business for $10m and he was seriously considering the offer. The firm accepted Reddy’s counter offer of $12.5m on Monday.

Sky TV first took legal action against My Box for alleged piracy last year. The legal battle is ongoing, with Sky seeking $1.4m in lost revenue.

Reddy called the company a “business built on controversy”.

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.

My Box chief executive Krish Reddy says the company’s New Zealand operations will be wrapped up in 90 days.

Existing My Box customers would not be impacted by the sale and will still be able to access Sky content, Reddy said.

My Box is not the only company Sky has sued for selling the android media players, commonly referred to as Kodi boxes, which cost upwards of $70 (a My Box is $259) and often come pre-loaded with software that points to foreign television streams.

Last year, Sky filed papers in court against My Box and Christchurch company Fibre TV NZ for their sale of Kodi boxes.

Sky secured an interim injunction last year against FibreTV on the terms Sky had sought and with costs were awarded to Sky.

Auckland High Court judge Warwick Smith reserved his judgement when the case against My Box was heard early last month.

Sky TV was seeking $1.4m compensation in lost revenue.

The company’s lawyer Laura O’Gorman said in court My Box was misrepresenting its product by stating its business was legal when it was breaching copyright laws, and in doing so, also breaching the Fair Trading Act.

My Box lawyer James Hazel said the “nefarious behaviour” was committed by third parties using My Box’s product.

US researchers at Sandvine published a report in November identifying the technology as a “multi-billion dollar problem” for pay-TV companies and the telecommunications industry.

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