Nine Entertainment is selling its live events and ticketing business Nine Live to Affinity Equity Partners for $640 million.
CEO David Gyngell says Nine will be now fully focused on the performance of free-to-air TV, digital and subscription streaming.
The sale will put Nine in a net cash position and the company intends to increase its on-market share buy-back program. This will be in addition to the $150 million announced in February. Nine will also lift its dividend payout ratio to between 80% to 100% of net profit.
Brett Sutton at Affinity Equity Partners says Nine Live has strong management and the capacity for significant growth.
The sale is expected to be completed on July 31.
Nine, operating in a difficult advertising market, posted half year profit of $90.98 million, up 187%, on a 5% rise in revenue to $839.91 million.
Nine shares are trading 8% higher today at $2.33.