The largest independent Internet Service Provider in Australia is the subject of takeover rumors following a major hike in its share price, prompting an official enquiry from the Australian Stock Exchange.
OzEmail, the largest of Australia’s 600 ISPs with around 200,000 subscribers, has conceded that “confidential negotiations” are underway, fueling speculation it is preparing for acquisition.
However, the ISP has denied rumours that it may be a takeover target for Rupert Murdoch’s media giant News Corporation.
OzEmail has recently seen its share price rise by 9.6%, resulting in multi million dollar gains for its three main shareholders. These increases prompted the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) to question the ISP about any financial matters that may account for the rise.
In its defense, OzEmail said that its share price rises have not been unique in the weeks following its partial listing on NASDAQ. The share price of several US Internet companies such as Netscape have also lifted in past weeks.
To offset the impact of admitting confidential talks were in progress, OzEmail vice president of corporate relations, Michael Ward, told australia.internet.com “if we weren’t in some kind of negotiations we wouldn’t be doing our job.”
Another OzEmail spokesperson reportedly said the results of its confidential discussions may eventually be released to the public. Meanwhile, the ASX said that it was satisfied with the ISP’s responses to its questions.