DataRoom AM: Fairfax radio waves

Fairfax Media may look to offload its radio arm and partially float Domain, while Hoyts aims to wrap up its IPO before the year's end.

The on-again, off-again sale of Fairfax Media’s radio assets could be back on again as the future of its property classifieds site, Domain, also comes under question.

Elsewhere, outdoor advertising giants APN Outdoor and oOh!Media fight for the limelight ahead of possible floats this year, Hoyts Group chases cornerstone investors for its IPO and Boral presses forward with plans to trim down its operations.

Fairfax Media has reportedly called on Macquarie Capital to advise on strategy amid rumours of a potential auction of its radio arm. The news follows recent reports that the lines of communication have again been opened with John Singleton’s Macquarie Radio after a series of false starts on a possible merger of Fairfax Radio with the Singleton-backed firm. Past episodes, however, suggest a deal is far from a good bet.

There is also speculation that Fairfax may pursue a partial float of its $1.5 billion-plus online property classifieds business Domain, with Macquarie allegedly aiding with analysis of this option as well.

While a float of Domain may be up in the air, one IPO moving close to the finish line is Hoyts Group, which is on the hunt for cornerstone investors to get a $900 million listing away before the end of the year. Hoyts owner Pacific Equity Partners already has UBS working on the deal and may call in either Macquarie or Citi as a joint lead manager shortly.

Hoyts will be one of the biggest names among a crowded last quarter for floats, with expectations of listings of Medibank PrivateHuon AquacultureAPN Outdoor and law firm Spruson & Ferguson, among others.

Meanwhile, Macquarie Capital has also been tapped as the lead adviser for Boral’s planned sale of its roof tiles business. The deal may reach about $30m, with The Australian Financial Review reporting that Boral’s global brick business and $100m local timber operations could also face the chop.

And that’s not where the action ends for Macquarie Capital either, with the investment bank a part of a race to the ASX boards between outdoor advertising companies oOh!media and APN Outdoor. The AFR reports that Quadrant Private Equity’s APN Outdoor is ahead in the sprint to the finish line as it is set to begin an Asian roadshow on Monday. On the other hand, Champ, which is being advised by Macquarie and Highbury Partnership, recently weighed a rushed float that could have kicked off next week. While that would have frustrated APN, Champ has instead pushed on with a live trade sale, though an ASX listing remains a strong possibility.

In property, Aspen Group has shunned a $217m takeover proposal for its parks fund. The offer, put forward by Sunsuper’s Discovery Holiday Parks, is the second Aspen has rejected in the past month.

Elsewhere, the NSW government is hoping to seal a sale of the Cobbora coal project before Christmas. At least five parties are believed to be weighing a formal offer, with Whitehaven Coal and Yanzhou Coal among the most likely interested parties.

Finally, Expedia has secured approval from the ACCC for its $703m purchase of ASX-listed hotel booking service, while China’s Fosun International has lifted its stake in takeover target Roc Oil to 29.3 per cent, with a move above 50 per cent acceptances expected soon.

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