HONG KONG/MELBOURNE Dec 12 U.S. buyout firm
Providence Equity Partners is among suitors that have advanced
to the second round of bidding for Leighton Holdings'
Australian fibre-optic network NextGen, sources said, in a deal
that analysts estimate could fetch up to A$870 million ($910
Leighton, controlled by Spain's ACS, is selling the
inter-city fibre-optic business NextGen and two smaller data
businesses Metronode and Infoplex to pay down debt.
Leighton, Australia's largest construction company, has been
plagued by losses from the delayed construction of a water
desalination plant in the state of Victoria, and a road link to
Brisbane airport in Queensland state which opened in July,
months behind schedule.
It was not immediately clear who the other short-listed
Leighton and Providence declined to comment. The sources
declined to be identified as the sale process was confidential.
Leighton could bring in up to A$870 million from the NextGen
sale, Citigroup analysts estimate.