Fairfax sells Stayz for $220m

Fairfax Media late on Wednesday offloaded its holiday rentals website Stayz to US-listed holiday rentals group HomeAway for about $220 million.

Fairfax Media late on Wednesday offloaded its holiday rentals website Stayz to US-listed holiday rentals group HomeAway for about $220 million.

The sale represents a windfall for Fairfax, which acquired the business in 2005 for $12.7 million. Analysts recently put a value of $140 million on the business.

Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood said in a memo to staff the media group had received some initial approaches for the business "that were compelling". This prompted a competitive sale process for Stayz. The sale price outweighs Fairfax's net debt of $154 million at June 30.

Mr Hywood said the sale showed Fairfax can "clearly can add real value to digital businesses".

The interest in Stayz follows last year's sale of Fairfax's remaining stake in New Zealand online auction house Trade Me for $616 million. More recently, investors have speculated the media publishing company might pursue a float of its real estate business, Domain, as a separately listed company.

Fairfax, which owns The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, said the sale price represented a multiple of 16.8 times Stayz's financial 2013 earnings.

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