HT&E open to the right offer for ARN, says CEO Ciaran Davis
ARN’s parent company HT&E announced its half-year financial results this week, reporting revenue growth of 7% year on year, but CEO Ciaran Davis says he would still be open to selling the radio arm of the business if the right offer came in.
ARN now makes up a much higher percentage of HT&E’s continued operations since it offloaded Adshel to oOh!media for $570 million (after an initial offer of $420 million was rejected).
If an offer to buy ARN came in, Davis says that HT&E would take similar considerations when deciding whether to accept.
“Equally, if an offer comes in for ARN, we’ll have the same attitude,” he told Australian Financial Review.
His comments echo those made by former HT&E chairman Peter Cosgrove in May, who said he was open to selling either or both of ARN or Adshel.
Whether ARN is offloaded or not, Davis sees a strong future for advertising in radio, and suggested that marketers are rethinking how they spend having realised Google and Facebook are not the “holy grail”.
They’re instead returning to traditional media. “The feedback we’re getting from clients is there’s no reason to say the market will not continue the way it has,” said Davis.
Before the sale of Adshel, industry experts valued ARN’s radio assets at somewhere in the vicinity of $500 million and $800 million.
So who are the potential buyers? Not many companies could pay the value needed, and now Nine is out of the equation.
Seven and News Corp would be doubtful too, but Bauer Media or Telstra could be possibilities.