APN raises A$23m in oversubscribed retail offer

APN News & Media, the Australasian publisher of the New Zealand Herald, raised about A$23 million in the retail component of a capital raising to take control of its radio businesses, buying out its partner.

Investors in the media group subscribed for A$26.3 million in a 5-for-9 non-renounceable entitlement offer, of which A$17.7 million represented entitlements and A$8.6 million applications for new shares, the Sydney-based company said in a statement. Coupled with an institutional offer, APN has raised some A$132 million at 36 Australian cents a share, it said.

"APN received demand significantly in excess of the total number of new shares available under the retail entitlement offer," the company said. "Consequently, 100 per cent of new shares available under the retail entitlement offer have been allocated to APN's existing eligible retail shareholders."

The dual-listed shares have soared almost 50 per cent to 61.5 Australian cents on the ASX since the capital raising was announced. They last traded at 65 cents on the NZX.

The media group has been restructuring its business over the past year, quitting assets including its stake in an outdoor advertising venture, its unprofitable brandsExclusive online shopping site and a suite of New Zealand magazines

The capital raising will go towards buying out APN's US partner Clear Channel's stake in Australian Radio Network and The Radio Network in New Zealand for A$246.5 million. The rest will come from A$60 million reaped from the sale of its outdoor advertising business and A$61 million in existing bank debt.

The issue has been backed by major shareholders Allan Gray Australia, Independent News & Media and Irish billionaire Denis O'Brien's Baycliffe.

That's a turnaround for Independent News and Allan Gray, who last year forced a board-room shake-out of the Australian media group after baulking at APN's plans to raise capital to shore up its own debt-plagued books.

Independent News, which raised 43 million euros of fresh capital last year to repay bank debt and avoid a fire sale of its APN stake, didn't participate and was diluted to 18.6 per cent from 29 per cent. Its entitlement was taken up by Baycliffe, lifting its stake to 12.2 per cent from 1.9 per cent and keeping O'Brien's total interest in APN through the two companies at 30.8 per cent.

- BusinessDesk

Note: This article originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald. APN is also the publisher of this site.


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