Austar shares spike on talk of takeover
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.