Singo: ‘I want Fairfax’

Staff Writer

The on again/off again saga of whether John Singleton may be a genuine player for the Fairfax Radio Network may be back in play again.

Singo has said that he wants the Fairfax Radio assets;

"I tried to buy them in Ron Walker's day, Fred Hilmer's day, Bob Muscat's day, David Kirk's day, whoever-was-around day, and more-recently day, and I've failed every time, and in the meantime they're bleeding to death and I'm making a fortune."

The company is vulnerable given its weak share price at the moment, the shares in Fairfax have fallen 87% in the past five years, closing yesterday at 60c, valuing the company at $1.41bn overall, a massive discount to the six different businesses it contains which are individually valued at $3.3bn. 

The company is now being openly talked about as being a target to be broken up with assets being sold to private equity. A market analyst has told The Australian that the radio division should be offloaded;

"I'd say to them, don't expect Gina to help you, and then I would yes, sell radio, it's obvious, but who's the buyer? Remember we tried this in 2011 . . . Sell Trade Me, it's the best asset, and radio."

Trade Me is Fairfax Media's online auction and classified site in New Zealand.

Last week, Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood released an email to staff outlining the new culture and values of the company, and specifically addressed the 'dysfunctional internal relationships' within the organisation. See the video here.

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