Telecom New Zealand (Telecom) is reportedly selling off its Australian unit AAPT, with four bidders understood to be in contention for acquiring the operator, Reuters reports. Citing an unnamed source, the report claims that the four companies to have submitted offers before the 15 April deadline are TPG Telecom, Pacnet, Quadrangle Group and Optus. Telecom’s decision to sell the unit follows continued declines in revenue, with AAPT generating AUD760 million (USD700 million) in 2009, down from AUD1 billion a year earlier, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were down by around AUD27 million over the same twelve-month period, at AUD73 million.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in December 2008 rumours emerged that Hong Kong-based Pacnet had tabled a bid of USD420 million for AAPT; the offer was expected to be financed with cash and equity. Subsequently it was however suggested that no firm offer had been tabled, and Pacnet said that it was considering a number of possible acquisitions in Australia.
According to other reports in the Australian media, the local unit of Goldman Sachs is believed to be handling the sale, and despite no official confirmation by Telecom that it has received bids for AAPT, earlier this week it did state that it would consider any reasonable offer for the subsidiary that was in the interest of shareholders.