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APN may sell down interest in Outdoor advertising unit

Monday 21st November 2011

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APN News & Media, the publisher of the NZ Herald, is reviewing ownership of its Outdoor advertising business and may sell down its interest or form a joint venture.

The media company’s Outdoor unit, which operates in New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and Hong Kong, generated A$121.8 million of sales in the first half, more than a fifth of total revenue, and A$12.4 million, or 19%, of pretax earnings.

APN “is involved in a process of best determining how the company may expand its Outdoor operations, including potential partnership opportunities,” it said in a statement today.

The company hasn’t given final approval for any change in ownership or partnership, it said.

The shares fell 1.2 percent to 83.5 cents on the ASX and have tumbled 56 percent this year. APN is a rated a ‘hold’ based on 13 recommendations compiled by Reuters.

The trans-Tasman company posted a net loss of A$98.3 million in the six months ended June 30, reflecting an impairment charge against its New Zealand metropolitan newspaper and magazine titles, which include the Herald, NZ Listener and the NZ Women’s Weekly.

Revenue was little changed from a year earlier at A$508 million.

APN faces issues causing a malaise throughout print media organisations, which are grappling with a consumer migration to online information sources that can’t generate the same scale of income.

Shares in Australian rival Fairfax Media, which publishes the Dominion Post, the Press, and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers, have lost two third of their value this year, trading recently at 81 cents.

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