The Chief Executive of Cable & Wireless Optus, Chris Anderson, announced that the companys Part A Statement in relation to its offer to acquire all the shares in AAPT had been served on AAPT today.
Mr Anderson said that the $5.00 offer price represented a 13.9% premium to the volume weighted average price for AAPT shares this calendar year (up to and including 15 April 1999) and a 26.9% premium to the average of the recent sell down prices and placement. Together these accounted for around 45% of the current issued capital.
"The offer price values AAPT substantially higher than the average valuation for the Australian and New Zealand telecommunications sector based on estimated 1999 EBITDA multiples. It places AAPT at a multiple of 24 times compared to the sector average of around 14 times as at 23 April." Mr Anderson said.
"The offer represents an 18.5% premium to the price at which the AAPT board agreed to make a placement of 15% of the then issued capital, a little over one month ago.
"We believe our offer of $5.00 per share represents excellent value for AAPT shareholders. It is not in the interests of Cable & Wireless Optus shareholders to pay more for AAPT than the company is worth, so we will walk away if we cannot conclude the deal at a fair price," Mr Anderson said.
The offer is conditional upon various matters including receiving all regulatory approvals. However Mr Anderson said he believed that both the Federal Government and the ACCC would be persuaded of the merits of Cable & Wireless Optus' arguments.
"To ensure the acquisition works we intend to do a lot of listening, to understand how AAPT's business works, how the two businesses complement each other and what customers really want.
"We will first recommend to AAPT the establishment of a Business Review and Integration Committee, consisting of representatives of senior management of Cable & Wireless Optus and AAPT.
"While the review is being conducted, our intention for AAPT is to ensure the business continues uninterrupted and as normal. We want AAPT customers to continue to enjoy the standards of service they have come to expect, while AAPT employees should understand we place a high value on the different skill sets they offer.
"Our current intentions as stated in the Part A document are based only on information publicly available on AAPT. Cable & Wireless Optus has had no access to AAPT's business plan, financial position, marketing objectives, or other confidential information which will be obtained as part of the review process," Mr Anderson said.
AAPT shareholders can expect to receive the formal offer by mid May. Cable & Wireless Optus has a 10.6% stake in AAPT purchased at $4.85 per share.
For more information:
Cable & Wireless Optus
Phone: 02 9342 7850