PracticeConsultingCentrica linked to bid for One.Tel UK

Centrica linked to bid for One.Tel UK

Centrica has been identified as the top bidder for the UK arm of One.Tel, the Australian telecoms company, which went into administration last month.

Centrica has been restructuring its business, adding telecoms to its gas and electricity services and One.Tel’s customer base is seen by some as a way for Centrica to expand internationally, and grow its own 400,000 mostly fixed-line customers.

No agreement has yet been reached between One.Tel and Centrica, formerly known as British Gas, and other bidders were still being considered, according to reports in today’s FT.

Back in Australia, a court has ordered that assets valued at $23m belonging to One.Tel founders Jodee Rich and Brad Keeling and finance director Mark Silbermann be frozen.

One.Tel was set up by the sons of media tycoons Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer, who together invested A$900m into the telecom giant in 1995.

However, a due diligence investigation by One.Tel’s auditor Ernst & Young found a planned rights issue of $132m (Pounds 92m) would fail to keep the company solvent, and could, therefore, not proceed.

Administrators have stepped in, trading of One.Tel shares on the Australian Stock Exchange have been suspended and the business is up for sale.

Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer, sons of the moguls, claimed to have been ‘profoundly misled’ about the financial state of the company while reports in the Australian papers suggest their fathers’ may take legal action against Rich and Keeling, after being outraged by One.Tel’s collapse.

And yesterday Nasdaq-listed telecom Primus Telecommunications Group said it would not purchase the mobile network after a spokesperson for the Australian arm of Primus last week said the company was still considering the possibility of purchasing the network.

Analysts expect the network to sell at a steep discount to the $600 million already spent on the company.

But a spokesperson for Centrica told Accountancy Age it was not company policy to comment on such matters, and dismissed the rumours as ‘pure speculation’.

Links

E&Y report sends One.Tel into administration

Related Articles

5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

Accounting Software 5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

5m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

Consulting Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Richard Toone, CVR Global

Accounting Firms Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Richard Toone, CVR Global

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Deloitte 'self-imposes exile' on government contracts to defuse PM row

Accounting Firms Deloitte 'self-imposes exile' on government contracts to defuse PM row

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Julie Adams, Menzies

Accounting Firms Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Julie Adams, Menzies

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Friday Afternoon Live: Deloitte's tech thing; PAC wants HMRC 'contingencies'; and Sports Direct

Business Regulation Friday Afternoon Live: Deloitte's tech thing; PAC wants HMRC 'contingencies'; and Sports Direct

1y Kevin Reed, Writer
Friday Afternoon Live: HMRC complaints rise; Deloitte scoops big audits; and corporate reporting woes

Audit Friday Afternoon Live: HMRC complaints rise; Deloitte scoops big audits; and corporate reporting woes

1y Kevin Reed, Writer
New head of equity capital markets for KPMG

Accounting Firms New head of equity capital markets for KPMG

1y Stephanie Wix, Writer