Some of Nine's major backers may pull out, amended prospectus warns

The owner of free-to-air station Channel Nine says it will consider buying other companies if Australia's audience reach laws change.

The owner of free-to-air station Channel Nine says it will consider buying other companies if Australia's audience reach laws change.

It has also warned investors who are keen to participate in its float that its main financial backers - US hedge funds Apollo Global Management and Oaktree Capital Group - may want to sell their remaining stakes in the company from the middle of next year.

Were that to happen, the company's share price may take a hit.

Nine Entertainment Company has been preparing to float on the stock exchange for months. The group plans to list on December 6 with a market capitalisation of up to $2.2 billion after selling 304.7 million shares at $2.05 to $2.35 each.

A prospectus for the float was issued last Monday, and potential retail investors have been gearing up for initial public offer on Tuesday. But on Friday, the company lodged an amended prospectus with the Australian Securities and Exchange Commission.

Among the changes was information regarding Nine Entertainment's future growth strategy in light of possible changes to the law. The updated prospectus says: "For example, in the event the 75 per cent audience reach rule is materially amended or removed ... Nine Network would consider all of its options ... which may potentially involve NEC engaging in a merger or undertaking acquisitions."

The warning about a possible impact on the share price - when Apollo and Oaktree may choose to sell their remaining stakes in the company following the publication of NEC's full-year results on June 30 next year - was given more prominence in the prospectus.

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