Fairfax Radio sale back on?

Staff Writer

Fairfax Media has reignited discussions about selling the radio division, with investment bank Macquarie engaged to review options for a sale.

The Australian is reporting this morning that Macquarie will advise on potentially selling the radio division, and on a possible IPO for real estate brand Domain.

According to the report, Fairfax have met with John Singleton to explore a merger of some kind between Macquarie and Fairfax Radio.

Were Fairfax to exit radio completely, under ownership regulations this would enable the company to consider television ownership; although Nine Entertainment said recently that they had no interest in 'any business requiring printing'.

However Nine have also said that they have an interest in radio, and a combined Fairfax/Macquarie network may hold an attraction for them. There are multiple complexities in any deal, not the least of which would be the regulatory requirement of selling one of the three Sydney radio stations (2GB, 2CH, 2UE) that any combined entity would operate were a merger to occur, the most likely one to go would appear to be 2UE.

With Fairfax Radio's FY14 EBIT falling by 33% on the previous year, it is perhaps an opportune time for any potential acquirer to run the ruler across the network, and obtain it at a heavy discount to what the parent entity would have accepted for it a couple of years ago.

So the on-again off-again saga of a Fairfax Radio sale appears to be, this week, on again. Kind of like ground-hog day really.




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