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APN acquires radio network

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APN News & Media has moved to take full control of the Australian Radio Network (ARN), owners of Adelaide stations Mix102.3 and Cruise 1323.

APN has previously managed ARN’s business with joint venture partner Clear Communications, based in the USA.

As a result of the acquisition, APN will own 100 per cent of the largest network of radio stations in Australia and New Zealand.

ARN owns or has investments in 12 radio stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth.

The group broadcasts to more than four million listeners each week.

It recently launched a digital service, iHeartRadio, to the Australian market.

APN Chief Executive Officer, Michael Miller said the move signalled the group’s confidence in the radio market.

“ARN and TRN (New Zealand) are businesses that we know extremely well, having run them for almost 20 years,” he said.

“They are managed by highly competent teams and continue to deliver growth in both audience numbers and advertising revenues.

“We are confident that radio will continue to grow as a medium and that ARN and TRN will continue to capture a greater share of the market.”

APN also owns a network of newspapers in New Zealand and 20 newspaper mastheads in regional Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Miller was poached last year from News Ltd. He was formerly the managing director of Advertiser Newspapers Pty Ltd in Adelaide.

In a statement to the stock exchange today, APN said the acquisition would provide it with greater flexibility to pursue new revenue generating opportunities through closer collaboration between its media businesses in both Australia and New Zealand.

APN also secured an exclusive 10-year arrangement to operate and broadcast the iHeartRadio digital radio platform in Australia and New Zealand.

The acquisition will be funded through a $132 million capital raising, and $60 million from proceeds of the sale of APN Outdoor plus $61 million in debt funded from existing facilities.

APN separately released its financial results today, posting a gross profit of $58 million, up 14 per cent on last year and revenue of $148.9 million, up 6 per cent.

During the year, APN sold its billboard advertising business APN Outdoor, e-commerce business brandsExclusive and its eight per cent equity in Aussie Commerce Group.

The sale of APN’s wholly-owned New Zealand magazine titles to Bauer Media Group had received regulatory approval and was expected to be completed in March, the company said.

Its Australian regional newspapers had an improved second half but earnings before interest tax and amortisation were still down 23 per cent to $29.7 million.

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