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Fairfax denies it is seeking offers for Macquarie Media

Fairfax Media has denied speculation it is seeking offers to realise its investment in Macquarie Media, despite an offer for a full takeover by a consortium of investors led by John Singleton and Mark Carnegie.

In a statement made to the ASX this morning, Fairfax acknowledged it had received a letter from the Singleton Consortium about taking control of Fairfax’s 54.5% shareholding in Macquarie Media, however denied it was seeking offers or undertaking a process to sell the shares.

In a letter addressed to Greg Hywood, chief executive officer and managing director of Fairfax Media, Singleton asked for access to Fairfax’s data room in order to complete due diligence on the deal.

“We have read a number of press reports of Fairfax considering a sale of its interest in Macquarie Radio Network and received several calls from interested parties about our intentions,” Singleton wrote in the letter dated 16 June.

“After extensive conversations, we think that the sensible solution for all shareholders of MRN, is that we make a takeover offer for the shares we do not own in a consortium with the other parties who have expressed interest in this asset.

“We need access to the data room to allow our financiers to complete their due diligence and an agreement from you that you are looking to realise this asset,” he added.

In a response posted on the ASX, Fairfax told shareholders it was not seeking offers for its shares in Macquarie Media.

“Contrary to the suggestions in the letter, Fairfax is not seeking offers or undertaking a process to realise its investment in Macquarie Media,” a statement said.

“Fairfax notes that Macquarie Media is a separately listed ASX company, and any potential offer for Macquarie Media or request for due diligence for that purpose would be a matter for Macquarie Media to consider.”

Currently, Fairfax owns 54.5% of the AM radio network which includes 2GB, 3AW, 2UE, 6PR and 4BC, while Singleton and Carnegie control the remaining 45.5%, with Singleton himself controlling a 34% stake.

In 2015, Fairfax merged its radio interest with Singleton’s operation, with the new entity operating under Macquarie Media.

The move by Singleton and Carnegie comes as changes to media ownership rules are being debated and as Fairfax sits at the centre of a battle between TPG Capital and Hellman & Friedman over a possible takeover.

Fairfax has told shareholders they do not need to take action.

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