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Austar: Foxtel To Take Over Company In A$2.5 Billion Deal

MELBOURNE -(Dow Jones)- Australian pay television operator Austar United Communications Ltd. (AUN.AU) said Monday it has reached an agreement for rival pay television operator Foxtel to take over Austar in a deal that values the company at A$2.5 billion. The company said in a statement the proposed deal, which had been agreed by majority shareholder Liberty Global Inc. (LBTYA), would see shareholders receive A$1.52 per share and be implemented through a series of transactions and a scheme of arrangement. It said Austar's independent directors recommended that minority shareholders vote in favor of the scheme in the absence of a superior offer and subject to an independent expert concluding that the takeover is in the best interests of shareholders. "We look forward to completing the transaction and believe it represents compelling value for all shareholders," said Austar Chairman and Chief Executive of Liberty Global Mike Fries. The takeover is subject to conditions including approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Foreign Investment Review Board and shareholders and rulings by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Shareholder meetings to vote on the scheme are yet to be scheduled but Austar said it is expected to be implemented in either December or early 2012. Foxtel is 50% owned by Telstra Corp. (TLS.AU) and 25% each by News Corp. (NWS) and Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd. (CMJ.AU). -By Gavin Lower, Dow Jones Newswires; 61-3-9292-2095;

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