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Telstra and Australian Government in Talks to Buy Digicel Pacific

 Australian telecommunications giant, Telstra has revealed it is in talks to buy Digicel Pacific with financial backing from the Australian Government. 

Digicel is the dominant telecommunications provider across the Pacific Islands [including Papua New Guinea], and has become a focus of concern for the Australian Government since a potential sale of the asset was flagged. 

Concern have been raised that the telco would be purchased by a Chinese state-owned company, boosting China’s influence in the region and exposing Australian telecommunications infrastructure. 

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs has previously told the Australian Financial Review it was monitoring the sale.

"The Australian government wants to see infrastructure investment in the Pacific, including in communications, that is transparent, robust and which ensures high quality and low costs for people and business,”

Telstra has now revealed to the Australian Stock Exchange it was approached by the Australian Government for advice. 

“Telstra was initially approached by the Australian Government to provide technical advice in relation to Digicel Pacific which is a commercially attractive asset and critical to telecommunications in the region.”

 A deal for the purchase of the asset has not been finalised, but Telstra has indicated it would have Government backing. 

“If Telstra were to proceed with a transaction it would be with financial and strategic risk management support from the Government.”

 “In addition to a significant Government funding and support package any investment would also have to be within certain financial parameters with Telstra’s equity investment being the minor portion of the overall transaction," it said.

Source : Radio Australia

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