Shares in APN News and Media rallied at the start of trading on the ASX after the company successfully raised A$160 million through a rights issue.
Adjusting for the three for one rights issue, the stock was up 8 per cent at A68c when trading resumed today after being on a trading halt since Monday.
The Sydney-based owner of NZME in New Zealand, whose media assets include the New Zealand Herald, Newstalk ZB and e-commerce sites such as GrabOne, plans to use the funds to repay some of its debt and, and if it proceeds with the demerger of NZME, to use some of the money to set up APN and NZME with their own stand-alone capital structures.
The remaining A$20 million of the offer is aimed at retail investors and opens on May 18, although trading of the retail entitlements begins on the ASX today on a deferred basis.
The shares last traded at A63c before being halted for the capital raising and had dropped 33 percent in the past 12 months.
APN is in talks with Fairfax media about a potential merger of NZME with Fairfax's New Zealand assets to create "a leading New Zealand media business, offering depth of news, sport and entertainment coverage across a diverse mix of channels including print, digital and radio," the two companies said this week.
Analysts have 'buy' ratings on both companies and say exiting their New Zealand assets would allow them to better participate in consolidation of the Australian media sector, where media ownership laws are expected to be relaxed next year.
Salt Funds Management managing director Matt Goodson said it looked like the market was reacting to the "robust action" taken by APN.
"I think that you will see the Australian market put quite a high multiple on the remaining Australian businesses -- radio and outdoor advertising," he said.
"The second aspect is that, while a merger is still far from a done deal, there is potentially significant costs and revenue synergies to be had, so the market is feeling its way through the potential upside of those," he said.
- with BusinessDesk