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Fairfax halts trade amid Domain spin-off speculation

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Fairfax shares are in a trading halt amid rumours the media company is considering spinning off lucrative real estate business Domain.

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In a statement to the ASX today, Fairfax said only that it had requested the halt “pending an announcement in relation to the Domain Group”.

Rumours that Fairfax will eventually spin off Domain – which contributed $296.3 million of the company’s total $1.83 billion revenue in 2015/16 – resurfaced this week when the Australian Financial Review reported that Macquarie Capital is advising on a possible sale.

Fairfax in November flagged a drop in Domain’s first-half earnings as homeowners in Sydney and Melbourne hesitated to put properties up for sale, but the business has been an increasingly important moneyspinner as print revenues, advertising and circulations all continue to decline.

Fairfax is due to report its first-half results on Wednesday, although the shares could remain in a halt until the market opens on Thursday.

Rupert Murdoch-controlled media rival News Limited owns 61.6 per cent of ASX-listed real estate classifieds business Real Estate Group.

Domain is a sponsor of the Adelaide Football Club.

– AAP

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