APN shares surge, putting Kiwi assets in spotlight

SHARES in publisher APN News & Media, the owner of The New Zealand Herald and a series of Australian regional titles, surged nearly 25 per cent yesterday, sparking speculation a review of the company's Kiwi assets may have found a buyer.

SHARES in publisher APN News & Media, the owner of The New Zealand Herald and a series of Australian regional titles, surged nearly 25 per cent yesterday, sparking speculation a review of the company's Kiwi assets may have found a buyer.

The company's chief executive, Brett Chenoweth, put the assets on the block in May, hiring Deutsche Bank to advise on a strategic review after receiving approaches from potential buyers.

APN, which also owns a suite of magazine and radio assets in New Zealand, told shareholders in May approaches had concerned "some or all of our New Zealand assets".

Shares in APN have fallen heavily this year along with other traditional media companies. But, in turnover twice the daily average yesterday, APN shares shot up 8.5?, or 24.6 per cent, to 43?.

The stock was the biggest mover on the S&P/ASX 200 today.

Mr Chenoweth told shareholders in May the media group, which also owns a stake in The Radio Network (which includes Newstalk ZB, Radio Hauraki and Classic Hits), was reviewing all of its New Zealand media assets.

"In recent months, APN has identified a number of opportunities and at the same time received approaches in relation to potential transactions," he said at the time.

In August, the market savaged the stock after it confirmed that the chief financial officer of a decade, Peter Meyers, would leave the company, with APN's share price plunging 26.9 per cent to 28.5?. The company's market value was cut to as low as $185 million.

At its recent full-year result, APN posted a net loss of $319.4 million, 225 per cent greater than the previous corresponding period.

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