Registry expanding

REGISTRY business Computershare has committed more than $150 million to snap up businesses in Melbourne and the US.

Computershare will pay $54.3 million for Melbourne-based Serviceworks Group, which provides services to utilities companies, arranges the connection of utilities to people who are moving house, and runs an online utility price comparison service.

It will pay $US114 million ($A109.4 million) for Colorado-based Specialized Loan Servicing, which manages residential mortgage repayments and runs foreclosures on behalf of US lenders.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Computershare said both purchases would be funded by debt, and additional payments might be due if the firms hit performance targets.


Acrux's shot in the arm

A GLOBAL licensing deal is expected to more than double revenue for fledgling Melbourne biotech Acrux in coming years.

Acrux yesterday reported a

22.5 per cent surge in net profit to $57.1 million for the year to June 30.

Chief executive Richard Treagus said the increase was driven by a

66 per cent leap in revenue to

$93 million, mostly due to a

$US87 million ($A83.5 million)

payment from its US partner, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, which is marketing Acrux's underarm testosterone treatment, Axiron.

"Acrux receives royalties from Lilly on worldwide net sales of Axiron and may also receive total net sales milestone payments of $US195 million," Dr Treagus said.

The shares closed 17?, or

4.7 per cent, higher at $3.78.


Bid for Austar 'right'

CONSOLIDATED Media Holdings expects Foxtel's bid for Austar to overcome competition concerns.

During its annual results briefing yesterday, executive chairman John Alexander said he expected the Austar takeover to proceed, but he did not detail the basis of that expectation other than to say it made sense for Foxtel, of which Consolidated Media owns a quarter, to also own the regional operator.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission raised three "serious" issues with the bid last month and has delayed its final decision.

Consolidated Media reported a 74 per cent slump in net profit for the past financial year to $102 million, but said the previous year was unusual as it included proceeds from the sale of its stake in Seek.

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