The West

Just days out from a showdown with an angry investor who wants to roll Antares Energy's board citing underperformance, the target company yesterday placed its shares in a trading halt to deal with a takeover bid.

Antares executive chairman James Cruickshank, who has attracted most of the criticism from aggrieved 6.3 per cent shareholder Lone Star Value Investors, said last night he could not reveal the identity of the suitor or the terms and value of the proposal.

But he confirmed the suitor was not the same party which Antares says is considering a $US300 million ($320 million) buyout of his company's oil and gas assets.

Antares shares were off 4� at 59�, giving it a market capitalisation of $150 million, before the trading halt was called.

An announcement is expected on Monday, a day before the shareholder meeting requisitioned by Lone Star to vote on the Antares boardroom shake-up.

Lone Star is crying foul, arguing the timing of yesterday's takeover news was designed to confuse Antares shareholders ahead of the Sunday afternoon deadline for votes lodged by proxy.

It has asked the Australian Securities Exchange to try to force Antares to reveal details of the bid "so shareholders are fully informed prior to voting". "Given the failed track record of the board to deliver on previous proposed asset sales, what faith can shareholders have that this bid has any merit," Lone Star said.


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