Macquarie Considers Buying Airwave

Australia's Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group, is examining a bid of up to A$5 billion (US$3.9 billion) for British emergency broadcast services provider, O2 Airwave, the Australian Financial Review reported Thursday.

Airwave's owner, Spain's Telefonica, has appointed investment bank JPMorgan Cazenove to seek offers for the business, which provides communications to the police, ambulance and the fire services, the newspaper said.

MCIG, the telecommunications arm of Macquarie Bank, led a consortium that bought telecommunications infrastructure group Arqiva in 2004, but recently missed out on a controlling stake in French satellite operator Eutelsat.

In an unsourced report, the daily business newspaper said staff at Macquarie Bank had begun preparing for the due diligence phase of any sale of O2 Airwave.

Airwave earlier this month declined to comment on a British media report that it was up for sale, but added that it reviewed all its operations on a continuing basis.

The group posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 40 million pounds for the six months to Sept. 30, 2005 on revenues of 103 million pounds.