Four bidders in AAPT auction: source

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Four bidders in AAPT auction: source

Speculation spins further.

Telecom New Zealand is auctioning off its AAPT unit, with four bidders vying for the struggling Australian telecoms carrier, a source familiar the situation said.

The four bidders who submitted proposals by the Thursday deadline were TPG Telecom (TPM.AX), privately held Pacnet, private equity firm Quadrangle Group and Optus, the fully-owned Australian unit of Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI), said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

AAPT has been suffering from declining business, with revenue dropping to A$760 million in 2009 from A$1 billion in 2008 and EBITDA falling to A$73 million from more than A$100 million over that period, said the source, adding the Australian unit of Goldman Sachs was handling the sale.

The company said last Thursday it would consider any reasonable offer for the unit that was in the interest of shareholders.

Pacnet made an unsolicited $420 million offer for AAPT in late 2008, but that offer was ultimately rejected by Telecom Corp.

(Reporting by Doug Young; Editing by Simon Jessop).

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