Austar United Communications – Application in Relation to Austar United Communications [03/03/2003] The Takeovers Panel

3 March 2003


The Panel advises that on 28 February 2003 it received an application in relation to the affairs of Austar United Communications Limited (Austar). The application is from a shareholder in Austar, Pondale Properties Pty Limited (Pondale).

The application is in relation to the acquisition by CHAMP SPV Pty Limited and its related entities (CHAMP Group) of a relevant interest of approximately 81% of Austar. The relevant interest was acquired from United Asia/Pacific Communications Inc and its subsidiary United Austar Inc in the context of an overall debt restructure of the seller entities through a US Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedure which is due to be heard in a US court on 18 March 2003.

In the application Pondale asserts that it has concerns, amongst other things, in relation to the market being adequately informed about the ultimate ownership and control of the CHAMP Group. It alleges that the acquisition by the CHAMP Group of a controlling interest in Austar will not take place in an efficient, competitive and informed market.

The Panel has not yet sought the views of the CHAMP Group or Austar in relation to the application and has therefore formed no views on the application.

The President of the Panel has appointed Nerolie Withnall, Alice McLeary and Michael Ashforth to be the Sitting Panel to consider the application.

Nigel Morris,
Director, Takeovers Panel
Level 47 Nauru House,
80 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: +61 3 9655 3501