STRUGGLING regional media publisher APN News & Media is bulking up its online presence in an effort to reposition for growth and ramp up digital earnings.
The group is paying $36 million for an 82 per cent stake in the online retailer brandsExclusive.
The website, which boasts 1.8 million members, offers premium clothing brands, accessories, shoes, toys, homewares and sporting goods at discounted prices.
APN's chief development officer, Matt Crockett, said there had been a rapid rise in e-commerce, with new ventures emerging to take advantage of the shift in consumer habits.
"It is a key part of our strategy to increase our position and exposure to high-growth media assets," he said yesterday. "The fastest growing part of the media and digital marketing segments are digital transactions businesses and e-commerce within that."
APN will pay a further $30 million if brandsExclusive meets set earnings targets for the 2013 financial year. brandsExclusive co-founders Daniel Jarosch and Rolf Weber will manage the company after the sale.
Mr Crockett said the purchase was part of APN's move to grow its portfolio of digital ventures.
The purchase adds to APN's existing online transactional businesses such as group buying site GrabOne, auction and classifieds site Sella and sports tipping site Jimungo.
APN posted a loss of $45.1 million in 2011.