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Fairfax buys online funds business

Monday 10th September 2007

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Fairfax Media has paid A$12 million for website which sells managed funds directly to the public.

The site, InvestSMART, operates mainly in Australia, but does have a small operation in New Zealand.

It will be merged with Fairfax's Direct Access which distributes personal investment products.

The merged business will have more than A$1 billion in funds under management.

Fairfax Media is paying A $12 million, with an earnout multiple over three years based on future earnings growth.

InvestSMART enables Australians to research and purchase from a selection of over 4,000 managed funds offered by Australian fund managers. Instead of purchasing managed funds from financial planners, InvestSMART allows customers to purchase funds with zero entry fees.

InvestSMART also compares funds on a range of criteria such as fund performance, fund size, Morningstar and Standard & Poor's ratings, and provides customers with extensive online research and analysis tools. Direct Access is a similar business operating within the same sector.

"The merger of InvestSMART and Direct Access comes at a time when non-advisory wealth management and online transactional sectors are experiencing strong local demand," Fairfax Digital chief executive Jack Matthews says.

"Direct Access and InvestSMART have highly complementary audiences, but little customer duplication," he says.

Fairfax Media chief executive David Kirk said, "This small acquisition is a logical next step in creating a market leading position in the high growth online financial services market."

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