Offer denied

Australand Holdings has denied it has been approached by rival Mirvac with any takeover offer. In response to reports on Tuesday that its management was in talks about a possible $7 billion merger, Australand's directors said: "Australand advises that it is not in receipt of any such proposal." But analysts said that since GPT announced it was committed to making a bid for Australand's non-residential assets, it is "game on" for the real estate investment trusts. Many have predicted that with the REITs now trading at a premium to their net tangible assets, making a pitch for a rival was more attractive.


Miner's fine

Iron ore minnow Northern Iron has agreed to pay a $66,000 fine to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission after an investigation into continuous disclosure. ASIC was concerned that Northern Iron took two hours and 24 minutes to request a trading halt after it learnt confidentiality around a possible transaction in May had been lost. Northern Iron said it was not in the company's best interests to enter a lengthy legal dispute with ASIC and would pay the fine in a bid to close the matter.


Tarkine plan

Shares in Venture Minerals rose by more than 7 per cent late on Tuesday, as investors interpreted events in Canberra as a good sign for Venture's iron ore and tin mine proposals in Tasmania. The Environment Minister, Tony Burke, approved an application by Shree Minerals to develop an iron ore mine in the Tarkine area of Tasmania, despite opposition from some environment groups. Venture is seeking to build an iron ore mine and a tin mine in the same region, and is also waiting upon final approval from Mr Burke.


Retail offer

The interest in the struggling Ten Network held by James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch has risen to just below the 20 per cent takeover threshold after the pair took up their entitlement under a capital raising. Mr Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings told the stock exchange that it expected the pair's voting power would return to its previous level of 17.9 per cent after a retail offer in January.

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