APN complexity has media suitors perplexed

APN News and Media’s colourful variety of media assets could be the biggest sticking point in finding a buyer for the dominant 39 percent stake put up for sale by Ireland-based Independent News and Media (INM).

As newspaper and TV companies circle the APN business, new speculation emerged yesterday that INM was in talks to sell its landmark British newspapers, The Independent and The Sunday Independent, according to Roy Greenslade, of The Guardian.

Greenslade said all INM’s British and Irish newspapers were also under pressure and would undertake cost-cutting measures before January.

INM announced last week it was considering offers for its piece of APN, a trans-Tasman newspaper, radio and outdoor advertising giant.

Speculation has created a growing list of possible takers for the share of APN – including Seven Network, Ten Network, Fairfax Media, Macquarie Group, Illyria, News Corp and West Australian Newspapers – but it remains to be seen whether any will meet INM’s preferred resolution of a total package buy.

Many of the companies will want to cherry-pick the assets and no firm has come forward, offering to buy the entire stake with the intention to break it and sell on each part separately at a profit.

Likely buyers would base their decision about APN on particular assets based on strategic, cash-flow and asset-compatibility factors, The Australian reported.

Early favourite Seven wanted to keep its cash handy for pay-TV or magazine assets, said a separate report in The Australian.

Fairfax Media, which owns every major non-APN newspaper in New Zealand bar the Allied Press-run Otago Daily Times, was clear to move for APN’s NZ print assets if it wished due to a lack of direct competition between titles, APN’s New Zealand Herald reported.


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