TNZ moves closer to AAPT

Telecom New Zealand is one step closer to its goal of taking over AAPT with its purchase of Cable & Wireless Optus' 10.6 per cent stake in the telco.

TNZ now owns around one-third of AAPT, 10 per cent short of the 40 per cent stake required to take a controlling interest.

A CWO spokesperson has said that, having purchased the shares at $4.85 and selling them to TNZ at $5.10, it was an instance of Optus "winning business" and taking "considerable strides" in the telecommunications marketplace.

Ironically, when CWO initially offered to buy AAPT shares at $5.10, AAPT's CEO Larry Williams argued the share price did not reflect the standing of the company at the time.

The acceptance of TNZ's offer follows a block from ACCC, believing AAPT to be a "vigorous and effective competitor", whose removal would raise issues under the Trade Practices Act.

"We no longer require a strategic stake in AAPT," explained Norman Gillespie, deputy chief executive of CWO.

Telecommunications analyst Paul Budde, said earlier this year a merger between AAPT and TNZ would be an ideal combination.

"For TNZ, the [New Zealand] market is far too small," Budde said.

"They have exhausted what they can there. From their point of view [the merger] is very understandable and acceptable," Budde told Computerworld Today.

"It's the fit. AAPT and TNZ fit - AAPT and Optus were competitors," he said.

AAPT, who has secured second place behind Telstra in the long distance telecommunications market, declined to comment.

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More about AAPTAustralian Competition and Consumer CommissionCable & WirelessCWONormanOptusTelecom New ZealandTelstra CorporationTNZ

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