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Optus acquires Virgin Mobile Australia

Sydney, 11 January 2006 - Optus announced today that it had acquired 74.15 per cent of Virgin Mobile Australia Pty Limited (“VMA”) from the Virgin Group for A$30 million, increasing the Optus shareholding in VMA to 100 per cent.

At the same time, Virgin Enterprises Limited granted Optus a 15-year licence for ongoing use ofthe Virgin Mobile brand in Australia. This licence will extend to other telecommunication products and allow the Optus Group to market an increased range of products to consumers using the Virgin brand.
 
Mr Warren Hardy, Managing Director Optus Wholesale and Satellite, said Virgin Mobile had aunique position in the mobile market and consumers identified with the passionate and funapproach the company has.
 
“This acquisition cements VMA’s future and creates significant new opportunities in marketing an expanded product range to consumers,” Mr Hardy said.
 
“VMA will continue to provide simple and easy to understand offers. We expect the acquisitionand ongoing licence to lead to growth in market share,” Mr Hardy said.
 
Jonathan Marchbank, Virgin Mobile Australia Managing Director, said the acquisition was a great outcome for VMA.
 
“Maintaining the Virgin Mobile brand in Australia and being 100 per cent backed by a solidcompany like Optus is a great outcome for our staff and our customers.
 
“This acquisition demonstrates Optus’ commitment to providing competition and choice to benefit Australian consumers,” Mr Marchbank said.
 
Over the coming months, Optus will work with VMA’s management to integrate the company into the Optus Group.
 
VMA’s mobile customers will continue to receive services as usual.
 
 
Notes to Editor:
 
Virgin Mobile Australia
  • Established as a 50:50 joint venture between companies in the Optus and Virgin groups in2000
  • Virgin Group increased its shareholding to 74.15 per cent in 2002
  • Over 500,000 customers
  • Employs over 300 people across Australia
  • Retail outlets in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and distribution channels will remain.
 
Financial background
  • The deal comprises a cash payment of A$30 million for the 74.15 per cent equity interest and the buy out of the existing debt of £1.3 million owed by VMA to Virgin, on completion of the acquisition.
  • Based on audited financial statements as at 31 December 2004, prepared in accordance with accounting standards in Australia, VMA had net assets of A$8.8 million.
  • For the year ended 31 December 2004, VMA recorded revenue of A$189 million and EBITDA of A$1.3 million. The consideration for the acquisition was arrived at on a willing buyer-willing seller basis, taking into account the expectations of both the Optus and Virgin groups as to VMA’s future prospects