Clever sets its sights on acquisition

Clever sets its sights on acquisition

Wireless broadband provider fails in its bid to takeover rival, BigAir, but says acquisitions remain key for expansion

ASX-listed wireless broadband operator, Clever Communications (ASX:CVA), has failed to secure a majority foothold in its rival, BigAir (ASX:BGL), but says it remains committed to expansion this year.

The takeover bid closed on December 24. In a document posted on the ASX on December 29, Clever confirmed it held 13.73 per cent interest in the company. As a result, compulsory acquisition would not proceed.

Clever chairman, David Williams, said no decisions had yet been made on whether to abandon or reconsider its BigAir bid, but he confirmed Clever would continue to look for acquisition opportunities in 2009.

“We’ve said all along that there’s a need for industry rationalisation – we will keep pursuing that,” he said. “At this stage, we don’t know what form that will take, but we have made it clear we will use our scrip to do it.”

Just one week before the offer was due to close, Clever lifted all bid conditions in an attempt to persuade more BigAir shareholders to accept its one-for-one scrip offer. At the time, managing director, Scott Carter, told ARN was committed to winning over shareholders and bringing the two organisations together. However, BigAir’s board, which held 37 per cent of the vote, has continued to oppose the bid.

“Clever has fallen way short of the compulsory acquisitions target – it was never going to happen,” BigAir CEO, Jason Ashton, said. “There are no ongoing negotiations as we have not changed our position on this.”

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