APN bids lodged as News Corp and Fetch Plus make their play for regional news

The sale of APN News and Media’s regional arm, ARM, has attracted a host of bidders as the company moved through its demerger process.

Ciaran Davis says fututre looks strong under new plans

Ciaran Davis says the company’s future “looks strong” under new plans

Bids for the regional business, which includes 12 daily newspapers and 60 community newspapers in Queensland and northern New South Wales, closed on Friday with APN now assessing the offers.

News Corp and Singapore-based Fetch Plus are understood to be among those who have lodged bids for the business, which also boasts more than 30 regional news websites and mobile sites, according to The Australian.

APN is hoping it will raise $50m in the sale as it moves to shift its business focus from publishing to radio broadcasting and out of home media.

The company has also received approval from shareholders to move ahead with the demerger of NZME in New Zealand, with plans to bring it together with Fairfax’s New Zealand operations in a bid to create scale.

“A demerger from NZME gives us the capital flexibility to invest in these businesses separately and independently, allowing them to succeed in their individual markets,” Ciaran Davis, APN CEO told shareholders last week.

In Australia, APN assets up for sale include the Northern Star in NSW, the Sunshine Coast Daily and the Bulletin in central Queensland.

The MEAA has been critical of APN’s handling of its regional news arm, accusing it of submitting the business to ongoing cuts and failing to appreciate the importance of regional newspapers to local communities.


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