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P.M. BRIEFING : Maxwell Forced to Offer Stock

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

British publisher Robert Maxwell has been forced to put his stake in Bell Group Ltd. back on the market under terms of an out-of-court settlement with the National Companies and Securities Commission.

The Federal Court today ratified the order to dispose of the 14.9% holding in the group, declaring Bell Director David Aspinall was in breach of takeover regulations when he originally acquired the shares.

Australian financier Robert Holmes a Court is believed to be among potential bidders interested in the parcel of more than 54 million shares in the group, which owns the newspaper West Australian.

The stock will be tendered at a confidential reserve price.

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If a buyer cannot be found at or above the price agreed with the NCSC, then the shares will be returned to Maxwell.


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