Telstra and Australian govt finalising bid for Digicel’s Pacific assets -sources

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Canberra/Sydney, Oct 14 (Businesshala) – Telstra Corp (TLS.AX) Ltd is close to completing a deal to buy telecommunications firm Digicel Group’s Pacific operations in partnership with the Australian government, two sources familiar with the bid told Businesshala. Told on Thursday.

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Telstra said in July that it was in talks to buy the Pacific business in a deal that would give Australia the bulk of the money – widely seen as a political move to block China’s influence in the region. Viewed plan.

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“It’s very near. I can’t put a timetable on it but the deal is almost done,” said an Australian government source. The sources declined to be named as they are not authorized to talk about the deal.

Digicel, founded by Irish billionaire Dennis O’Brien, is the largest mobile phone carrier in the Pacific with operations in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu and Tahiti – Papua New Guinea being the most lucrative.

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Australian broadcaster Nine Entertainment has previously reported that Telstra will spend between A$200 million and A$300 million of its money, and the government will contribute $1.5 billion ($1.1 billion).

A Telstra spokesperson declined to comment. Telstra CEO Andrew Penn told investors last month that any outlay for the company would be limited to the “low hundreds of millions”.

Digicel last year denied an Australian newspaper report that it was considering selling its Pacific business to state-owned China Mobile Limited (0941.HK).

The sale to a Chinese company would be a concern for the Australian government amid strategic competition between US allies in the Pacific and China.

Australia has increased its presence in the Pacific through the creation of an A$2 billion ($1.5 billion) infrastructure financing facility and through its membership of the Quad Group – which includes the United States, India and Japan – To counter the growing interests of Indo-Pacific.

($1 = 1.3545 Australian Dollar)

($1 = 1.3528 Australian Dollar)

Reporting by Colin Packham and Paulina Duran; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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