Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Giant Octopus Just Got Bigger!

Media monster APN is about to expand its reach into radio, by acquiring full ownership of the largest stations in New Zealand and Australia.
It'll cough up NZ$261million (A$264.5 million) for ClearChannel's 50% share in The Radio Network (TRN) - which includes NewstalkZB, Classic Hits, ZM, Radio Hauraki, Radio Sport, Coast, Flava, Hokonui and the Farming Show - and Australian Radio Network (ARN).
As part of the deal, ClearChannel will offer APN a 10yr.exclusive licensing agreement for its digital radio platform iHeartRadio, which was launched in NZ in Aug.2013 and hosts TRN radio shows.
TRN chief executive Jane Hastings says iHeartRadio is central to growing younger audiences, which would shore up its position as market leader.
The push into radio comes after APN sold several magazine titles, including The Listener and NZ Woman's Weekly to Bauer NZ.
APN, which owns the NZ Herald newspaper, also posted a A$2.6m profit after tax for the year to Dec.31, turning around a A$507m bottom-line loss in the prior year.
APN chief executive Michael Miller says one benefit of becoming 100% owner of TRN was the ability to make quicker decisions around the business. He says the opportunity to buy the Clear Channel stake at a good price was a good one. A single shareholder could work more closely with the TRN management team.
He says Clear was a "willing seller": its radio business was now purely in North America.

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