Seven top tip for APN’s assets

APN News and Media’s (APN) ownership is facing major changes after Independent News and Media (INM) announced it was considering offers for its 39.1 percent stake in the company.

Speculation in Australian and New Zealand media this morning has labelled the Seven Network as the early frontrunner.

INM, which is controlled by Irishman Dr Tony O’Reilly, will conduct a strategic review into its stake after receiving “unsolicited expressions on interested” from unknown parties, an APN statement said.

INM is hoping to raise €800 million ($A1.53 billion) from the APN sale to reduce its debt from €1.4 billion to under €600 million, The Australian reported.

INM, through APN, have had a presence in the trans-Tasman newspaper scene for 20 years.

Speculation has begun about potential buyers from the ANZ media landscape, although no parties have confirmed interest.

Kerry Stokes, chairman of Network Seven

Australia’s cashed up Seven Network is favourite to get its hands on APN’s assets – which include dozens of Australian and New Zealand newspapers, half of New Zealand’s Radio Network, and major outdoor advertising infrastructuure – according to New Zealand’s National Business Review.

Seven, which is entering the publishing industry through an increased stake in West Australian Newspapers, may seek other partners to take on APN’s newspapers, the report said.

Fairfax Media, the other major trans-Tasman media giant, could also be in the running.

APN recently extended the contract of its Chief Executive, Brendan Hopkins, for three years from April next year.

APN’s major newspapers are members of PANPA, and two of the company’s leading executives, Martin Simons and Mark Jamieson, sit on the PANPA board. APN’s General Manager, Online in Australia, Hugh Martin, is head of PANPA’s new Digital Advisory Group.

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