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Telstra To Fight Caymans Action

Telstra has confirmed that it will fight a court action launched in the Cayman Islands by minority shareholders of Chinese car Web site Autohome, seeking to nullify Telstra’s sale of a 47.7 percent stake in Autohome to the Chinese Ping An insurance group.

Telstra will retain a 6.5 per cent stake in Autohome following the Ping An deal, and has pledged to return at least $1.5 billion from the sale to shareholders.

Autohome’s chief executive James Qin is said to be among the minority shareholders opposing the deal via a petition lodged with a Cayman Islands court.  He heads a management consortium that had planned its own takeover of Autohome.

Telstra yesterday confirmed the petition had been lodged and added simply: “Telstra intends to contest the petition.”

In a controversial move earlier this month,Telstra added an extra member to the board of Autohome, appointing a sixth director to ensure it could push through a resolution that was a closing condition of its $1.36 billion stake sale to Ping An. Autohome is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but is incorporated in the Caymans.

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