APN shareholders vote to carve out NZME

  • 16/06/2016

NZME chief executive Michael Boggs will spend the next 10 days meeting and greeting current and potential investors after APN News & Media shareholders overwhelmingly backed plans to carve out the New Zealand unit.

The Auckland-based publisher and radio network operator will operate as a standalone listed company after the plan to demerge NZME got 99.98 percent backing at Thursday's special meeting in Sydney.

The transaction will see a one-for-seven share consolidation in the Australian company, then a distribution of NZME shares to those investors on a one-for-one basis. The deal then frees up APN to focus on Australian radio and outside advertising business, while NZME can pursue its merger with rival Fairfax New Zealand.

Boggs told BusinessDesk he's about to hit the road to meet current and potential shareholders in Auckland, Wellington, Sydney and Melbourne over the next seven to 10 days to engage and get feedback from shareholders on their views of NZME and where they think the media group should be heading.

"We now can control our own decision making around capital investment and funding," Boggs said.

An area he sees as ripe for opportunity is in digital classified advertising -- a traditional source of revenue for newspapers that's been eroded by the likes of online offerings such as Trade Me -- and on Wednesday launched driven.co.nz for automotive classified advertising.

"The thing with us is we have over 3 million people interact with us and our brands every month, and that goes to the credibility of the content being created across all our platforms, whether that be in print, radio, digital or GrabOne," he said.

NZME and Fairfax Media's New Zealand unit have filed an application with the Commerce Commission to merge their businesses, which they claim is needed to fend off global digital advertising giants such as Google and Facebook.

APN shares were unchanged at 68 cents on the NZX and rose 2.3 percent to 66.5 Australian cents on the ASX.

The demerger also requires New Zealand Overseas Investment Office approval.