HT&E slaps down The Australian for a report it says is incorrect | radioinfo

HT&E slaps down The Australian for a report it says is incorrect

Monday 11 December, 2017
HT&E CEO, Ciaran Davis

Reports that HT&E is seeking a private equity suitor have been dismissed by the media group. 

The Australian today reports 'HT&E is back in the spotlight among dealmakers, with reports that management is eager to embark on an exit and have made presentations about its prospects to potential private equity suitors.

'The company’s share price has languished of late — falling to $1.90 or $583.8 million with respect to its market value.

'Only two years ago it was trading above $4.'

APN News & Media officially rebranded in May this year, adopting the name HT&E (Here, There & Everywhere) in what was reported to be an effort to better reflect the company's current portfolio and market position. 

The company, which owns the likes of ARN, Emotive, Adshel, and Conversant Media sought a new name to better reflect the 'unique radio, outdoor and digital nature of the Group', as stated in its March Annual Report. 

HT&E responded to the media speculation with an ASX announcement on its Investor Relations website: 'HT&E advises that today’s article in The Australian’s DataRoom column is incorrect.

'HT&E has not made presentations to private equity investors and is focused on executing its growth strategy for its radio and outdoor businesses. 

'ARN’s 2nd half performance improvement continues with mid-single digit revenue growth as previously indicated. ARN also retains the #1 ratings position. 

'Adshel revenue performance is reflective of a strong out-of-home market and recently secured the Metro Trains Melbourne contract for seven years. HT&E confirms it is on track to meet EBITDA consensus for the year of $118-$119 million.'

The Australian reports that historically media has not been a 'happy hunting ground' for private equity, following investments in Nine Entertainment, which needed to be recapitalised.

'Much of whether a deal occurs depends on the stance of News Corp, owner of The Australian, which holds a 13.2 per cent interest in the business,'  reported Newscorp's Bridget Carter and Scott Murdoch.

'However, some of the pressure on its share price has been linked to the current tough environment in the radio market.

'ARN is not said to be performing well and its out-of-home media company Adshel has remained under pressure.

'Banks are also not willing to offer lucrative funding packages on traditional media assets so any acquisition by a buyout fund would not be an easy feat.'

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