THE acquisition of a 51 per cent stake in Public International Investments by Cheung Kong (Holdings) and a mainland consortium has been stalled. The $152.8 million deal has been held up as the parties wait for approval from Australia. Consent has been sought from the Australian Securities Commission because share and property investor Public International has a subsidiary, Public Holdings (Australia), which is quoted on the Australian Stock Exchange. On December 15, Cheung Kong subsidiary Artrel Ltd and International Enterprises Investment Co - a joint venture between China Venturetech Investment Corp and Shanghai International Securities Co - announced the deal to buy 164.4 million shares from Public International's controlling shareholder, Mr Teh Hong Piow. They originally set a deadline for tomorrow for the completion of the deal. However, on Wednesday, all parties agreed to a postponement to February 15 because Australian consent had still not been granted. However, they also made it clear they would go ahead with the offer irrespective of the Australian commission's decision. To satisfy Australian law, an offer would be made after February 15 to acquire all the Australian subsidiary's issued shares not already acquired by the company.