Austar issues eisa ultimatum

Austar United Communications has issued the remaining eisa shareholders with a final ultimatum -- sell up or lose the offer.

Bruce Meagher, Austar's head of corporate affairs, told ARN the company was threatening to withdraw its offer of 20 cents per share if it failed to secure 90 per cent of eisa shares by Friday 15 of this month.

"In any takeover, there comes a point where you have to set a deadline for acceptances. We have already extended the deadline three times since our initial offer. Now it is really up to the remaining share holders," Meagher said.

Austar is not far off its mark, having already secured 85 per cent of eisa shares, and has already drafted plans for the ISP's current infrastructure. In response, eisa issued a statement to the ASX detailing its expected $40 million loss on $9 million revenue for the six months to June 30, 2000, blaming the failed bid to buy OzEmail for the loss. CEO Ian Timmis urged shareholders to accept the Austar bid if they want to keep the ISP out of the hands of administrators.

"Shareholders are not likely to receive anything on their shares if this goes into administration," eisa Company Secretary Chris Glover, told ARN. "Its twenty cents from Austar or nothing at all."

"Going to Austar would be a clean process," he said, "but under administration there are no guarantees."

Meagher believes the majority of the remaining shareholders have small bundles of shares in their possession, and are holding out in the hope of a better offer. However, he says that any further delay may jeopardise Austar's plans for the troubled ISP.

"There is still a lot in the company that is worthwhile," Meagher said. "However, we are not willing to wait any longer. We need the 90 per cent in order to fully acquire the company, and if it is not forthcoming, we will withdraw the offer."

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