Austar confident on Foxtel merger

As it reported a big increase in its first-half net profit, Australian regional pay-TV provider Austar remains confident that the proposed merger with Foxtel will go ahead, despite the recent concerns raised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Austar chief executive John Porter indicated the transaction was expected to be completed either late this year or early 2012.

“While the ACCC’s … Statement of Issues raised some market concerns about the transaction, I am confident that once the ACCC reviews our submissions, there will be a reasonable result,” he said, suggesting there had always been “a compelling industry logic” to bringing Austar and Foxtel together. “Austar’s independent directors have said the transaction is in the best interest of shareholders. It also makes sense that a bigger entity is likely to deliver a number of consumer benefits for all Australians.”

Austar posted a net profit of A$88.7 million – up substantially from just A$20.7 million a year earlier. This was largely as a result of the sale of its spectrum licences to NBN Co for almost A$120 million. Revenue was flat at A$351.8 million.

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