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Cable & Wireless Optus accepts ACCC ruling on AAPT
06 May 1999

Cable & Wireless Optus today confirmed that it would not proceed with its offer for AAPT, following the ACCC's decision to refuse clearance for the bid.

The company said it was disappointed with the ACCC's decision, as it had argued the takeover would aid competition in Australia against Telstra. In particular, the decision will impede the enhancement of more immediate competition in small business and in rural and regional Australia.

Despite the decision, Cable & Wireless Optus will continue to vigorously attack these markets.

Cable & Wireless Optus Chief Executive Chris Anderson said, while he didn't agree with the decision, the company is prepared to abide by the ruling.

"We had always said that the takeover was only a small part of our continuing strong growth. For example, AAPT's total infrastructure investment of around $300m compares to Cable & Wireless Optus' investment to date of over $7 billion.

"As I indicated when we announced the bid and on a number of occasions since, we felt AAPT was complementary, but not an essential part of that long term plan.

"We said we wanted to acquire the company at a sensible price to help us to build competition, particularly in rural and regional Australia.

"The acquisition would have also provided an opportunity to more immediately attack the small and medium enterprise markets, areas where Cable & Wireless Optus aims to be stronger.

"We will reinvigorate our approach to those markets, and we look forward to competing with AAPT and all other market players for those key customers.

"We have always had a range of options for strong organic growth and our strong financial performance has created the platforms we need to achieve our long term aims.

"Cable & Wireless Optus continues to be totally focussed on maximising its services and returns to shareholders.

"With continuing double digit growth, we remain firmly on track to meet our Prospectus forecasts, and look forward to sustaining our strong double digit growth into the future. That growth is firmly based on our existing and planned business activities, without any element of value being attributed to the proposed AAPT acquisition.

"Cable & Wireless Optus continues to be a terrific growth company in a growing market."

Cable & Wireless Optus will remain a major shareholder in AAPT, and will review its strategic options going forward.

For more information:
Stephen Wilks
Director of Regulatory and Public Affairs
Cable & Wireless Optus Limited
Phone: 02 9342 7723