ARN’s parent company acquires Grant Broadcasters

Here, There & Everywhere (HT&E) has today acquired Grant Broadcasters. The acquisition will mean the amalgamation of Australian Radio Network (ARN) and one of Australia’s oldest regional radio company, Grant Broadcasters, under one company.

With an acquisition that includes radio and digital operations across 46 Grant’s stations, the partnership will significantly scale up ARN’s  offering. When combined with ARN’s existing 13 stations, ARN will now control 58 stations across 33 markets plus 46 DAB+ stations, resulting in a presence in every state and territory in Australia and an accelerated rollout of ARN’s iHeartRadio digital audio platform into regional areas.

The sale is worth $307.5 million. Of that, 22.5% of the purchase consideration will be delivered to Grant Broadcasters in HT&E shares, equating to an ~11% holding in HT&E, with Grant’s current CEO Alison Cameron joining the HT&E Board and current COO Rick Lenarcic joining ARN’s executive leadership team.

Due to ACMA regulations, ARN will be required to sell 4KQ, caused by the company reaching its threshold of broadcast licenses in the broader Brisbane region.

HT&E MD and ARN CEO, Ciaran Davis, said: “It is rare that an asset of this quality and strategic fit to our existing portfolio becomes available and we are excited by the opportunities presented by the coming together of these two great businesses.

“The station brands Grant Broadcasters have created have served their local communities with great commitment for decades, playing a pivotal role in the lives of their audiences, and we look forward to continuing that tradition.

Davis said of the 4KQ sale: “4KQ is a station rich in history and a hugely important part of the ARN story and we are sorry to see it leave the network. Laurel, Gary & Mark, Brent James, Nick Michaels and the rest of the 4KQ team have been an incredible asset for the business and it is regrettable that to achieve growth for ARN, we are required to divest the station.”

It’s been a strong year of growth for HT&E with ongoing business acceleration and a consistent COVID recovery. At the half year, revenue had increased by 21% to $110 million, EBITDA of +55% and a net cash position of $122 million.

In August, HT&E continued its recovery in the first half of the 2021 calendar year, reporting a 21% increase in group revenue to reach $109.9 million.

At the time, Davis, broke down the latest financial results with Mumbrella touching on exponential digital growth, and why this round of lockdowns isn’t shaking advertiser confidence.

Earlier this month,  HT&E has sold its 4.2% shareholding in Ooh Media for $49 million. The sale, for $1.78 per share, represents a $31 million gain for the media company which acquired the stake in the out of home company last year for $15 million.

The latest transaction bodes well for the growth ambitions of both businesses, allowing expansion of audience bases and fast-tracking the delivery of digital audio content and advertising opportunities across the whole of Australia.

“The recent successful resolution of HT&E’s tax matter with the ATO for $71 million, and the gain of $31 million on the divestment of our OML stake, significantly strengthened our balance sheet as we prepared for this transaction,” said Davis. “Our disciplined approach to capital management and creation of shareholder value is further demonstrated by the accretive nature of this transaction that is being funded through existing cash reserves, financing facilities and the issuance of new shares to Grant Broadcasters.”

Cameron said of the deal: “Grant Broadcasters are delighted to be partnering with HT&E, who we consider to be the leading provider of radio and digital audio in Australia.

“For 80 years Walter Grant, his daughter Janet Cameron and her family have been operating regional radio stations that serve local communities in regional Australia. We are so very proud of the connection the stations have with those communities and of our staff for continuing that commitment.

“There is a strong cultural similarity between the two businesses with both ARN and Grant committed to expertly creating great local content for the communities we serve. Together we’ll be an elevated team of dedicated audio professionals who live and breathe our local audiences. Both our companies are profitable enterprises in their own right but this partnership will deliver scale, digital acceleration, and ensures our future profitability.”


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