IWL eyes E*Trade Australia

IWL eyes E*Trade Australia

Australian broker IWL says it may put forward a rival proposal to ANZ's agreed A$268m bid for E*Trade Australia after it acquired a "strategic stake" in the Internet brokerage unit.

IWL says it has bought a five per cent stake in E*Trade through on-market purchases and would not accept the $4.05 per share takeover offer made for the Internet broker by ANZ.

IWL chief executive Otto Buttula told Australian reporters that some of E*Trade's own institutional shareholders have encouraged IWL to make a bid for the business.

The Australian firm says it expects to be able to state whether it will release an alternative proposal before the expiry of ANZ's current offer on 18th April 2007.

IWL says it will only make a decision on any alternative proposal following further discussions with key stakeholders and receipt of appropriate legal, taxation and financial advice.

ANZ offered last month to acquire the 65.8% stake it does not already own in Internet broker E*Trade Australia. ANZ needs 90% acceptance of its A$280 million bid for the unit but already faces a shareholder rebellion.

Since the bank disclosed its takeover plans boutique fund manager Caledonia Investments has spent A$4.2 million to increase its stake in the unit from 9.45% to 10.46%.

Furthermore Invest4Profit - a share research and advisory firm that claims its subscribers collectively own around 10% of E*Trade Australia - has said that it will tell its members to reject the ANZ deal and that it would call an extraordinary shareholder meeting if the bank did not up the offer.

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