Independent News and Media approach 'terminated'

24-11-2006

Independent News and Media approach 'terminated'
Investors will be closely monitoring the share price of Independent News and Media (INM) today after the Dublin-based company announced the collapse of talks regarding a proposed takeover of APN News and Media, Australia's fourth largest media company.

INM, which already owns a 40 per cent stake in APN, revealed last month that it had made an approach in respect of a possible A$3.8 billion (£1.5 billion) buy-out of the company as part of a consortium which included private equity firm, Providence Equity.

But in a statement this morning, INM, which owns the UK's Independent newspaper, said that it had been unable to finalise its own terms within the consortium.

"INM has today informed APN that the proposed consortium (comprising INM and certain private equity associates) has been unable to finalise its own terms that would have enabled the consortium to have met its desired timetable, culminating with a formal offer to APN shareholders," said the statement.

"As a result, the current discussions between the proposed consortium members have been terminated at this time," the media group added.

Unconfirmed media reports have suggested that Providence Equity decided not to proceed with the takeover bid after examining APN's books, prompting some analysts to predict that INM may seek to identify another consortium partner in order to allow the deal to go ahead.

Both INM and APN have confirmed that they will continue talks with each other in order to examine options that will benefit their shareholders.

"INM in conjunction with APN will continue to actively examine the many opportunities in the Australian market with a view to maximising value for all INM shareholders," INM concluded in its statement.

Following news that the takeover bid for APN had stalled, shares in the Australian company slumped by more than six per cent to A$5.78 (£2.33) on the Australian stock exchange.

INM's attempt to takeover APN comes at a time when international publishers are rushing to acquire Australian media groups ahead of new rules which come into force in the country next year relaxing controls on cross-media ownership.



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