Seven West enters ARN/SCA media wars

Seven West Media has confirmed that it has has acquired a 14.9% share ($50.1 million) in ARN amidst the network’s takeover bid of Southern Cross Austereo.

Seven West has also acquired an additional 5% share via a cash-settled equity swap with Barrenjoey Markets, making it the largest shareholder in ARN.

It comes as SCA weighs up a takeover proposal from ARN, which would see ARN, alongside Anchorage Capital Partners, create a “focused” metro radio network of 10 stations across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth with each city featuring a KIIS and Triple M brand.

SCA chair Rob Murray confirmed at an annual general meeting last month that the network is currently in discussions about the bid.

In a statement released today, Seven West said it has “no intention” of launching a takeover bid of ARN or SCA and is only interested in ARN’s “continued and long-term success”.

“Seven West Media has a disciplined approach to value creation in the media sector,” Seven West chairman, Kerry Stokes, said.

“We believe that this strategic holding presents strong value for our shareholders in light of sector consolidation activity.”

Managing director and CEO, James Warburton, added: “SWM’s objective is to be Australia’s most connected news, sport and entertainment brand. Our investment in A1N aligns with our strategic pillar of partnering for growth, and we look forward to continued collaboration across our two companies.”

Seven West’s move will no doubt turn more eyes onto SCA, given that an in-principle agreement between it and ARN is hoped to be reached by December.

However, at the October AGM, Murray was not optimistic about the timeline, saying it is “highly optimistic and frankly, we’re not going to be rushed”.

In a statement given to Mumbrella today, ARN said: “ARN welcomes a new shareholder who is supportive of our business and the bid we have in place for SCA.

“We remain focused on the bid and delivering value for our shareholders.”


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