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News Corp picks up 14.99% stake in APN News & Media

MUMBAI: News Corp Australia has picked up a 14.99 per cent stake in the Australian media company APN News & Media Ltd, subject to regulatory approval.

The acquisition comes following a 30 per cent stake sale for about $300 million by APN’s major Irish shareholders, which saw the end of a 27-year relationship with the trans-Tasman newspaper, radio, and outdoor advertising group.

According to reports, News Corp has described the holding as an ‘investment stake’. APN pays no dividends and the shares performed strongly in the past 18 months.

A Reuters report mentions that News Corp had previously held a 4.9 per cent stake in APN.

APN has a portfolio of Australian and New Zealand radio and outdoor media assets and small regional print interests.

News Corp has been thwarted from acquiring 15 per cent or more of APN because News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch already owns 100 per cent of rival radio company Nova Entertainment. Nova owns the Sydney stations Nova and Smooth FM. As per regulations, no media owner can control more than two radio licences in a major market.

APN owns over 100 regional newspapers, with a large number of them in Queensland, and Australian Radio Network, which is the leading station with popular FM breakfast shows on its Sydney stations KiiS FM and WS FM.

In a statement from the US, News Corp said, “APN has a high-quality portfolio of Australian and New Zealand radio and outdoor media assets and small regional print interests. It is led by a quality management team that has successfully driven improvements in the performance of the business.”

The purchase is subject to regulatory approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Foreign Investment Review Board.