News Corp., the media company controlled by Rupert Murdoch, said it's building a 14.99 per cent stake in APN News & Media Ltd. as two major investors sold down their holdings in the newspaper and radio group.
The investment in Sydney-based APN is subject to regulatory approval, News said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. The company has a "high quality portfolio" and "quality management team," it said.
Irish billionaire Denis O'Brien's investment vehicle Baycliffe Ltd. and Independent News & Media Plc. sold off about 31 per cent of APN in a block trade handled by Credit Suisse Group AG, the Australian Financial Review reported, without saying where it obtained the information.
The investment gives News a stake in radio stations and rural newspapers in Australia and New Zealand, as well as advertising space on Hong Kong trains and billboards. It marks Murdoch's return to New Zealand's newspaper industry 12 years after Independent Newspapers Ltd., in which News Corp. had a 45 per cent stake, sold its publishing arm there for NZ$1.19-billion ($888-million).
Katie Taylor, a Fiji-based spokeswoman for O'Brien's Digicel Pacific Ltd., had no comment on whether he was selling out of APN.