Telstra is close to finalising a deal to purchase Australia's second largest ISP, OzEmail, for more than $300 million.
In an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange, the telco confirmed it has signed a Heads of Agreement for the purchase of all OzEmail's residential business assets.
According to officials, Telstra is proposing to retain OzEmail as a stand-alone business and wholly owned subsidiary. It will have its own Board and the OzEmail brand, operations and network will be operated with its management. OzEmail has around 300,000 residental customers.
OzEmail's parent company UUNet will continue to provide network services including Internet access, connectivity, backbone services, and other services to OzEmail customers under a five-year agreement as part of the proposed purchase, officials said.
No further details regarding the deal are available from Telstra.
Michael Ward spokesperson for UUNet, OzEmail's parent company said "No comment. No comment. No comment."
Speculation surrounding Uunet's sale of OzEmail was mounting towards the end of the last year with Eisa and News Ltd both rumoured to be interested in acquiring the ISP.
Judy O'Sullivan spokesperson from EISA said: "We don't know anything. No comment."
UUNet parent company MCI WorldCom acquired the entire OzEmail business for $520 million in December 1998.
The deal is subject to further negotiation, due diligence, Board approval by Telstra and UUNet and approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.