Telstra plans to sell back equity stake

Telstra plans to sell back its 10 per cent equity interest in the global telecommunications alliance WorldPartners to the alliance's other stakeholders.

A spokesperson for the telecommunications specialist said the decision followed a review of Telstra's alliance strategy in the light of the move by AT&T - which holds the single largest equity stake in WorldPartners - to exit the group by the end of 1999.

The spokesperson said the equity stake would be sold back the alliance's remaining stakeholders - which include Japanese carrier Kokusai Denshin Denwa (KDD), Singapore Telecommunications and the AT&T Unisource group - early in 1999.

Telstra executives said the carrier negotiated an option to sell back its share at the time it entered the partnership in June this year.

However, the Australian telecommunications company would remain a non-equity stakeholder in the consortium, allowing it to continue to deliver WorldSource products and services - which cover areas such as call centres, frame relay and virtual networks - to customers.

The spokesperson said under the revamped alliance strategy, Telstra planned to conduct a series of discussions with partners with the WorldCom alliance. She refused to elaborate on the statement.

She said that while Telstra would receive the same price for the equity interest as it originally paid, "other requirements" of the agreement could erode a minimal amount of value from that price.

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