Australia eyeing October sale of stake in Telstra

Australia will begin selling part of its majority stake in Telstra to investors on October 23, as a feud between Canberra and the telecoms giant deepened, an AFP report said.


The AFP report said Australian Finance Minister Nick Minchin said the prospectus for the offer to sell A$8 billion dollars ($6.06 billion) worth of its shares would be unveiled on October 9 amid a high-profile media campaign to arouse public interest.


'The price of the first installment and the size of the retail discount will be detailed in the prospectus along with the benefits and risks of the investment,' Minchin was quoted as saying.


The AFP report said the government in August it would sell a third tranche of its 51.8% stake, worth a total of A$24 billion ($18.2 billion), in the country's largest telecoms company to retail and institutional investors.


But the plan has been severely troubled by the government's very public feud with the American CEO of the firm, Sol Trujillo, an AFP report said.


Minchin said the long-awaited share offer would be heralded by a A$20 million dollar (15.1 million) advertising campaign beginning in just over a week.


The finance minister said banks Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Daiwa, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley would be co-lead managers for the institutional selling syndicate, while CommSec and RBC were appointed co-managers of the institutional selling syndicate, according to the AFP report.


The latest step in privatization is known as T3 because it will be the third tranche of Telstra shares offered to the public after partial floats in 1997 and 1999, the AFP report further said.