Fairfax looks to get value from Stayz

Fairfax Media has appointed advisers from investment bank Goldman Sachs to help it respond to interest in its holiday rentals website Stayz.

Fairfax Media has appointed advisers from investment bank Goldman Sachs to help it respond to interest in its holiday rentals website Stayz.

Analysts from JPMorgan have valued the holiday accommodation site, which Fairfax acquired in 2005, at about $140 million. That valuation was based on pre-tax earnings in the year to June.

Fairfax gave an insight into the financial performance of Stayz in June when it broke out its earnings, which prompted speculation about the possibility that the business was being considered for sale.

The company would not comment on speculation about Stayz on Thursday. A spokesman said no decision had been made about selling any business.

"Fairfax will continue to manage the business to maximise shareholder value," he said.

However, a logical buyer would be US online holiday rental company HomeAway, which has grown quickly through acquisitions and already has a presence in Australia.

The other players in the online accommodation market include listed online travel company Wotif and space-renting site Airbnb.

The interest in Stayz follows the sale last year of Fairfax's remaining stake in New Zealand online auction house Trade Me for $616 million.

More recently, investors have speculated that the media publishing company might pursue a float of its real estate business, Domain, as a separately listed company.

Fairfax told investors at a briefing in June that Stayz had increased revenue above market in a challenging environment. Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood said at the time that both Stayz and dating site RSVP were "generating strong margins".

Sites that fall under Stayz's umbrella include Rent-A-Home, TakeABreak, and YesBookit.

The owner of The Age and publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald will report its full-year results on August 22.

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