APN shares in trading halt

Prime Minister John Key at the opening of NZME's new Auckland headquarters last year. Shares in the company's   parent - APN are in a trading halt pending an announcment. Photo / NZ Herald.
Prime Minister John Key at the opening of NZME's new Auckland headquarters last year. Shares in the company's parent - APN are in a trading halt pending an announcment. Photo / NZ Herald.

Shares in APN News and Media, the Australian parent of Herald publishers NZME, are in a trading halt pending the release of an announcement to the market.

Shares will resume trading at the start of normal trading on the ASX on Wednesday - or when the announcement is released to market.

The Australian newspaper said Fairfax and APN had held talks about a possible merger of their New Zealand operations.

It said APN was expected to undertake a capital raising in excess of A$200 million in conjunction with a demerger. APN shares last traded at 63 Australian cents on the ASX and have declined 30 percent in the past 12 months. They are also rated a 'buy'.

Fairfax Media said this morning it has nothing to disclose about its New Zealand operations after The Australian newspaper reported it was considering an A$200 million spinoff of its New Zealand newspapers, magazines, and digital business.

"Fairfax continues to explore options for all its businesses including Fairfax New Zealand, but at this time, there is nothing to disclose," the Sydney-based company said in a statement, responding to media reports.

In February, the Australian media group reported a 4.2 percent increase in first-half profit to A$26.3 million as revenue edged up 1.6 percent to A$958 million.

The Australian newspaper said that a Fairfax spin-off could involve a demerger of shares to existing shareholders, an initial public offering, or a trade sale. The move could be part of efforts to have the stock market put a higher value on the company, which it believes it deserves, the News Corp newspaper reported.

A demerged Fairfax New Zealand could end up footing it with APN News & Media on the NZX, with APN also contemplating a demerger of its New Zealand assets, most likely through a distribution of shares to existing investors.

With NZ Herald

- BusinessDesk

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