Fairfax Media receives improved private equity offer of A$2.7 billion for whole business

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 May, 2017, 2:16pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 May, 2017, 2:16pm

Fairfax Media has confirmed it has received a revised offer from a private equity firm to buy the whole company.

Publishers of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age will now consider the new A$2.7 billion (US$2 billion) from TPG Capital and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan consortium to buy the company as a whole, Fairfax newspapers have reported.

Last week the media company told the ASX the US-based firm was offering 95 cents a share for the assets, which have been valued at about A$2.5 billion.

“The Fairfax board of directors is reviewing the revised indicative proposal, the company told the ASX on Monday morning.

“The Fairfax board notes that there is no certainty that the revised indicative proposal will result in an offer for Fairfax, what the terms of any offer would be, or whether there will be a recommendation by the Fairfax board.”

The announcement came after reports Fairfax Media would reject an unsolicited offer from the TPG consortium to buy Domain and the metropolitan newspapers for A$2.5 billion. Last week the media company told the ASX the US-based firm was offering 95 cents a share for the assets.

But the offer, under which Fairfax shareholders would retain ownership of the smaller mastheads in the Australian Community Media division as well as New Zealand Publishing, Macquarie Media’s 2GB and the streaming service Stan, its co-venture with Nine, has been rejected.

According to the Australian Financial Review, the revised bid is A$1.20 per share but Fairfax shareholders are looking for up to A$1.40 a share.

The Fairfax board said in a statement last week that there is “no certainty that the indicative proposal is capable of being implemented given the complexity involved in splitting the businesses”.

The latest bid comes as Fairfax implements its most brutal cuts to staff ranks yet and as details of CEO Greg Hywood’s income is revealed. Guardian Australia reported Hywood had a pre-tax income of up to A$7.2m in 2016.

On Friday, after a seven-day strike interrupted negotiations, journalists received more information about the latest redundancy round, which will see one-quarter of all newsroom roles disappear. If the company doesn’t get enough volunteers for redundancy it will start making people forcibly redundant.