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Austar expects Foxtel takeover to succeed

Reported by AAP
Thursday, February 23, 2012
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Regional pay television operator Austar says it is confident a takeover bid by Foxtel will soon be finalised.

Austar's chief executive John Porter made the comments after reporting a 20.5 per cent rise in first-half profits on Thursday.

"We are confident of bringing the transaction to a successful close," he told analysts at the company's first half presentation.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) raised concerns about the tie-up in a statement of issues published in July and is yet to issue its final decision.

Austar shareholders are due to meet and vote on Foxtel's $2.5 billion take-over bid on March 30.

"We wouldn't spend all this time if we didn't think there was a way forward and everybody believes in it," Mr Porter said.

Foxtel chief operating officer Peter Tonagh said on Thursday he was hopeful the ACCC would approve the take-over bid.

"The mere fact that the Austar shareholder meeting is only little more than a month away I think should you get an indication of where we think we are at in the process," he said during Consolidated Media Holdings' first half results presentation.

Foxtel is half owned by Telstra, with James Packer's Consolidated Media Holdings and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation each holding a 25 per cent stake.

Austar on Thursday posted a net profit $120.1 million for calendar 2011, up from $99.65 million in 2010.

Revenue in 2011 was flat compared to 2010 at $712.8 million, due to the impact of natural disasters in regional areas and a fall in subscriber numbers, Austar said.

There was a 8,845 fall in subscriber numbers in 2011, taking total subscribers to 755,374 at December 31.

But the average spend per user rose, and in the fourth quarter of the 2011 it was up four per cent on the previous corresponding period to $88.64.

No dividend is to be paid.

Austar's shares rose 1.5 cents, or 1.24 per cent, to $1.23 on Thursday.

22/08/2014 06:00Sydney, Australia. 22 August,2014
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