eisa to return to ASX

After almost a week's suspension from trading on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), eisa expects to resume its listing later this week.

The Internet company claims it voluntarily withdrew from trading - effective from 10th December - due to "preparation for an announcement", although market speculation has predicted it will buy all or part of ISP OzEmail.

An eisa spokesperson said the company would apply for re-listing tomorrow, but an ASX spokesperson said the company, which had worked closely with ASX advisors prior to suspension, had not informed ASX of any intention to resume its listing.

Additionally, the ASX spokesperson said due to stockmarket methodology, the company's return to listing would only occur 48 hours after informing ASX.

It is believed eisa and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp are the two most likely candidates to acquire the ISP from its current owner, UUNet.

Analyst Paul Budde said it was most likely both companies would buy into OzEmail in a joint venture.

"(Internet business opportunities) are shifting from IT to the media, and News is a key player in the media world," Budde said.

He said while it "made sense that a person like Rupert Murdoch would be involved", it was doubtful News had the necessary resources to manage and support the 320,000 customer ISP.

An ideal business model would have News providing media content and eisa "taking over excess activities in the engineering department", he said.

An eisa spokesperson said the company expected to make a "major announcement" within a few days.

OzEmail and News declined to comment.

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