APN closes a $160 million equity raising and its shares soar

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APN News and Media shares have jumped following a successful $160 million raising in the institutional component of its $180 million rights offer.

Shares in the media company came out of a trading halt and jumped more than 12% to 70 cents each. A short time ago, the shares were up more than 3% to 65 cents.

The institutional shortfall bookbuild attracted strong demand at 65 cents a share, a premium of 12 cents above the offer price of 53 cents.

The company is going ahead with the retail component of the equity raising.

APN launched a $180 million rights offer on Wednesday to repay debt, the same day it announced advanced talks with Fairfax Media to merge both company’s New Zealand media businesses.

Faifrax Media shares are trading at 95 cents, up about 18% since the start of the week.

The companies are in exclusive talks to merge the businesses, which include the two biggest daily newspapers, the New Zealand Herald and the Dominion Post, and Stuff.co.nz, the number one local website which has grown 83% over the last four years.

Combined revenues of the business would be almost $A600 million and two businesses together reach almost every person and every geographic corner of New Zealand.

The deal, which would see a listed entity on the NZ exchange and the ASX, needs the approval of New Zealand’s competition watchdog, the Commerce Commission.

APN would then focus on its Australian growth media assets of radio and outdoor. It has said it wants to sell down its regional daily and community newspaper titles.

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