Shareholders have voted overwhelmingly to support APN News & Media’s proposal to sell its regional newspapers to News Corp Australia.
A total of 99.94 per cent voted in favour of selling the business division, Australian Regional Media, which has more than 70 newspapers in Queensland and northern NSW.
A regulatory ruling is due on September 29 from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Earlier this week, it approved News Corp’s sale of The Sunday Times to Seven West Media.
The APN newspapers will likely join the News Corp portfolio that includes the Brisbane-based Quest group of suburban titles and regional mastheads such as the Townsville Bulletin, Gold Coast Bulletin and Cairns Post.
It would be one of the largest print media consolidations since News purchased Melbourne-based Herald & Weekly Times in 1986.
Twelve dailies and 60 weekly titles are part of the deal. Among the best known papers are The Sunshine Coast Daily, Gympie Times and Toowoomba’s The Chronicle.
APN will focus on its radio and outdoor businesses.
Its chairman, Peter Cosgrove, said: “The sale, once finalised, will allow APN to better pursue opportunities and develop strategies and capital structures relevant to a growth media business, allowing APN to continue to drive innovation across its portfolio of assets.”
The company’s shareholders have already supported APN’s decision to sell its New Zealand asset, NZME, which is currently seeking regulatory approval to merge with Fairfax NZ.
News Corp owns 14.99 per cent of APN, however the company and its representative were excluded from the shareholder vote.
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