Aus­tar shares spike on talk of takeover

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor -

PAY tele­vi­sion op­er­a­tor Aus­tar United Com­mu­ni­ca­tions says its ma­jor­ity owner has had talks with Fox­tel over a pos­si­ble takeover bid for the smaller com­pany, send­ing its shares more than 10 per cent higher.

Aus­tar said yes­ter­day its 54 per cent owner, Lib­erty Global Inc, had held ‘‘ ver­bal dis­cus­sions’’ with Fox­tel, but no pro­posal had been re­ceived re­lat­ing to a bid.

Shares in Aus­tar climbed 12 cents, or 10.62 per cent, to $ 1.25 af­ter ear­lier ris­ing as high as $ 1.46 in in­tra­day trade as al­most 50 mil­lion shares changed hands.

Aus­tar made the com­ments in re­sponse to re­ports in Fair­fax me­dia that Fox­tel would bid for the com­pany, backed by the boards of its joint own­ers, Tel­stra Cor­po­ra­tion and Con­sol­i­dated Me­dia Hold­ings.

The re­port said Lib­erty Global had in­di­cated it would be open to a bid.

Aus­tar has a mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of $ 1.5 bil­lion.

Re­fer­ring to the re­port Aus­tar said ‘‘ it has re­ceived no pro­posal of this kind’’. ‘‘ No as­sur­ance can be given that those dis­cus­sions will lead to a pro­posal be­ing put t o Aus­taror­itss hare­hold­ers,’’ the com­pany said.

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