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Eisa raises the stakes with key backers

Eisa raises the stakes with key backers

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John Fairfax Holdings, Mike Fitzpatrick Hastings Funds Management, ANZ and Disney have emerged as key backers behind Eisa's $350 million acquisition of UUNet's consumer internet arm, OzEmail.

Eisa announced it would purchase OzEmail in mid-February, but could not reveal details on how it planned to pay for the 350,000-member organisation.

According to the Fairfax-owned Australian Financial Review, Mike Fitzpatrick Hastings Fund Management will purchase 50 million shares in a $100 million investment and Fairfax and ANZ will each buy 20 million shares for $40 million.

Eisa's agreement with Disney includes the supply of Disney content to Eisa, exclusively for narrow-band internet access in Australia and New Zealand, in return for a 10 to 15 per cent stake in the company. Additionally, Eisa will have access to Disney programming from ESPN, ABC Television in the US, consumer merchandise and technology. Each company will also have a board seat.

In addition to the initial funding investments, ANZ and Fairfax's internet arm, f2, will provide services and financial backing for ecommerce projects and content partnerships, including managing the portal and homepage for Eisa subscribers.

With only around half the required funding raised for the acquisition, more deals are expected to be announced by the company, which has until mid-June to finalise the UUNet deal.

Potential partners are rumoured to be the Seven Network and wireless partner Vodafone.


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