SingTel now has 37% of Optus

With the last obstacles to its takeover of Cable & Wireless Optus removed, Singapore Telecoms Ltd's acquisition of Australia's second telephone company is well under way.

SINGAPORE--With the last obstacles to its takeover of Cable & Wireless Optus removed, Singapore Telecoms Ltd's acquisition of Australia's second telephone company is well under way.

SingTel's stake in Optus surged to 37.32 percent on Thursday, after the Australian Treasurer approved the deal.

On Tuesday, SingTel had a 26.38 percent stake in Optus. Many acceptances for SingTel's offer came after the Australian government's go-ahead. On Wednesday, SingTel had 30.22 percent of Optus shares.

According to The Straits Times, market watchers expect the level of acceptances to rise even more before SingTel's offer expires on September 3.

Yesterday, the Australian Stock Exchange approved the trading of SingTel shares on its bourse, further smoothing the way for Southeast Asia's largest telco's plans.

The US State Department also confirmed that it would not require new licenses to operate Optus satellites which are used by Australia's Department of Defense.

One party who is unhappy with this turn of events is Australian media magnate Kerry Stokes, who has opposed the deal on the basis of national security. Stokes has threatened to campaign against the government in the coming election, over what he terms is its failure to protect national interests.

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