Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has bought APN News & Media's Australian regional newspaper business for A$36 million, leaving APN to focus on its radio stations and outdoor advertising business, according to Australian media reports.
In its 2015 financial results released in February, APN said it was looking to sell its regional newspaper business, which has a portfolio of 12 daily and more than 60 non-daily Australian regional newspapers, so it could focus on its digital growth strategy.
In those results, the Sydney-based APN reported a loss of A$10.2 million, including an A$48.3 million charge against the mastheads of its Australian regional newspapers, from a profit of A$11.5 million a year earlier.
The Australian Financial Review and The Australian, which is owned by News Corp, this morning both report the deal worth A$36 million was completed last night.
The Australian reported yesterday that APN wanted A$50 million for its regional newspapers and that NewsCorp and Singapore-based social media marketing firm Fetch Plus had lodged binding offers when final bids were due on Friday.
APN received Overseas Investment Office approval yesterday for its plan to split out its NZME unit, which owns its New Zealand media assets, ahead of a potential merger with rival Fairfax Media's New Zealand operations.
Its shareholders last week overwhelmingly backed the plans to carve out the New Zealand unit as a standalone listed company, freeing up APN to focus on Australian radio and outside advertising business. Analysts said exiting the New Zealand assets would allow APN to better participate in the consolidation of the Australian media sector, where media ownership laws are expected to be relaxed next year.