APN moves closer to selling outdoor stake

APN News & Media to sell its outdoor advertising business in January 2014.

APN News & Media Limited has announced it is aiming to sell its remaining interest in APN Outdoor for $69 million to private equity firm Quardrant.

The media company said in a statement that it had signed long-form legal documentation on the sale.

“However, the transaction remains conditional upon a number of approvals, including FIRB [Foreign Investment Review Board] approval, and is expected to occur in late January 2014,” a statement said.

The deal is not expected to face opposition or restrictions from FIRB, the Australian reported.

APN entered exclusive discussions with Quadrant Private Equity in October to sell its remaining interest in APN Outdoor for $69 million.

APN Outdoor has been operated as a joint venture between APN and Quadrant since May 1, 2012.

The transaction would assist in streamlining APN and provide increased flexibility around its existing assets as opportunities arise.

APN chief executive Michael Miller said the proposed transaction would be a good outcome for shareholders and was consistent with APN’s approach to having flexibility around debt repayment, investing for growth and future dividends.

“Quadrant has been a strong and supportive partner of APN Outdoor for the past 18 months and the business is well placed as the large format market increasingly adapts to the opportunities of digital media,” Mr Miller said.

“APN is continuing as an active investor in the Australian outdoor advertising market through our 50 per cent interest in Adshel, reflecting our belief that small format will continue to be a strong segment in the outdoor market.”

APN will also maintain its exposure to the Asian market through its 50 per cent interest in Hong Kong Outdoor.

While the parties have agreed in principle to many of the key terms of the proposed transaction, it remains incomplete with a final agreement still being prepared and negotiated.

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