Nine unloads Carsales for $565m

Nine Entertainment subsidiary ACP Magazines has sold its stake in for $565 million, a move that raises questions about the timing of Nine’s potential $5 billion float by owner CVC Asia Pacific.

The sale of the 49.1% stake was underwritten by investment bank UBS at $4.92 a share – a 6% discount to’s closing price at the end of last week [Friday 4 March). Nine is looking to pay down $4 billion of debt ahead of an IPO that is now expected in the second half of 2011.

The sale has prompted the resignations of Graham Brooke, MD of CVC Australia, David Gyngell, CEO of Nine, and Adrian Mackenzie, managing partner of CVC, as non-executive directors of Carsales.

Patrick O’Sullivan, Nine’s chief financial controller, and Jeffrey Browne, MD of GTV9, remain on the Carsales board.

Carsales’ MD Greg Roebuck said that the sale would have no impact on day to day operations.

“At an operational level, the ties between Carsales, ACP Magazines and Nine Entertainment have been minimal with all commercial arrangements held at arms’ length. We expect it to be business as usual,” he said.

Nine’s IPO was initially expected in the first half of 2011, but the Carsales sale could delay the float until later in the year.

Nine Entertainment”s assets also include online booking site Ticketek and ninemsn as well as ACP Magazines and Nine Network.


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