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Is iiNet about to spend a bob on TransACT?

Updated: iiNet in trading halt

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Talk of a sale of Canberra-based ISP and pay TV company TransACT is back on the agenda, with reports that iiNet is a front-runner to buy the carrier.

Speculation that TransACT is for sale has popped up on a fairly regular basis as far back as 2004, and in 2009, but this time, the Australian Financial Review is reporting “final negotiations” from behind its paywall.

TransACT was an early entrant into infrastructure-based competition in Australia, building a fibre / VDSL network in Australia’s capital that was established in 2000. As well as its network operations, the carrier operates data centres in the ACT, and in 2008 acquired Victorian regional HFC network operator Neighborhood Cable.

Acquisition of TransACT would give iiNet more than just a residential network: over time, the company has also made its way into both state and federal government agencies. The Canberra company also claims 5,000 SME customers, a market that iiNet is increasingly targeting with new services.

Potential suitors for TransACT would have more that the network and customers, however. Its ten-year history in the pay TV market gives it an array of existing content deals, something that is increasingly frustrating to ISPs trying to attract consumers to their IPTV offerings.

iiNet is itself the subject of takeover speculation, with rival ISP TPG buying its way onto the share register. ®

Update: iiNet is now in a trading halt on the Australian Securities Exchange, pending "an announcement by the company". It says it will return to trading either after its unspecified announcement is made, or on Friday 18 December. ®

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