Telecom could sell its trans-Tasman subisidary as early as August if it accepts one of several offers for the business, The Australian newspaper reports.

Citing AAPT sources it didn't identify, the newspaper today reported a group of private equity companies as well as TPG Telecom had approached Telecom NZ with proposals to buy AAPT.

Those offers have so far been rebuffed.

Sources inside AAPT said several private equity firms have directly approached the telco's management to discuss its sale, but had been referred back to New Zealand where Goldman Sachs JBWere is advising the Telecom NZ board on a strategic review.

Private equity players, including TPG Capital and Quadrangle Group, are believed to be two such firms that have lodged proposals to Telecom NZ. But a rival internet service provider, TPG Telecom - highly leveraged following its $373m purchase of wholesale internet capacity provider Pipe Networks earlier this year - is also shaping up as a buyer.

Telecom acquired a stake in AAPT in 1999 and moved to full ownership in 2000 with a total investment of around $3 billion.

There is no formal sale process for AAPT, but Telecom NZ made clear its intentions when chief executive Paul Reynolds described the Australian subsidiary as "non-core" to its mainstream business and said he would consider any serious offers for it.

Analysts value AAPT between A$400 million ($494.5m) and A$500m ($618m), a price that sources say could be close enough to entice Telecom to sell, but so far the offers on the table have not reached those levels, The Australian reported.

- NZPA