New Delhi: Asian telecommunications firm Pacnet is interested in acquiring AAPT, but feels the valuation of Australia’s no. 3 phone group has come down since December, Pacnet’s chief executive said on Tuesday.
A source had said in December, Pacnet was offering $420 million for AAPT, the Australian unit of Telecom Corp of New Zealand’s, as it looked to round out its Asia-wide telecoms network.
“That may have been a correct figure a while ago. Things are different now,” Bill Barney told reporters in the Indian capital, without putting a new price on AAPT.
He said Pacnet was in talks with up to nine firms in Australia for acquisitions, and that country was one of the four identified for buys in 2009.
“We’ve got our cheque books open,” Hong Kong-based Barney said. “There’re four key markets we’re looking for acquisitions this year -- Japan, China, India and Australia.”
But most firms were asking for prices that were above what Pacnet thought they were worth, and many of them had high debt levels as well, diminishing their attractiveness, he said.
“There is quite a bit of disconnect between where people think they are and where they are.”
Most of the firms Pacnet, Asia-Pacific’s top Internet service provider (ISP), looked to acquire would be smaller ISPs or those that added value to the firm’s offerings.
“We have $100-$200 million cash on our balance sheets and we have the ability to raise $400 million-$1 billion cash fairly quickly,” he said, when asked about funds for the purchases.
Unlisted Pacnet on Tuesday said it raised its stake in its Indian unit to 74% from 55%, and would apply for licences to offer national and international long distance telephony.