News Corp has taken a bigger stake in APN as $300 million in shares change hands

The Lord of the Rings are on the front page of three New Zealand newspapers, The New Zealand Herald, the Dominion Post and The Press, after the Lord Of the Rings, The Return of the King won 11 Oscars at the Academy Awards in 2004. Michael Bradley/Getty Images

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has taken a 14.99% stake in the Australian and New Zealand publisher APN News and Media.

New corp said: “APN has a high quality portfolio of Australian and New Zealand radio and outdoor media assets and small regional print interests. It is led by a quality management team that has successfully driven improvements in the performance of the business.”

Trading in APN was halted after about 30% of the company changed hands for about $300 million.

News Corp, which publishes The Australian newspaper and has daily newspapers in all state capitals except Perth, acquired a 10% stake to add to the 4.9% it already had.
The Australian Financial Review reported Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien’s Independent News & Media sold 191 million shares valued at $180 million. O’Brien’s investment vehicle, Baycliffe, also sold 125 million shares for $117 million.

Investment group Allan Gray has a 15.5% stake in APN.

APN owns the New Zealand Herald and has three of the top five national radio networks. In Australia, publishes 19 daily and more than 80 regional non-daily newspapers.