Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Seven West Media, the parent company of Australia’s top-ranked Seven Network, has announced plans to raise $A440M ($450M) by selling new shares in a move that will reduce net debt to $1.4B. Its two largest shareholders, Kerry Stokes‘ Seven Group Holdings, which owns 33.2%, and private equity firm KKR, which has 11.8%, will both buy shares equaling their current stakes. The offer price of $1.32 per share is an 18.5% discount on last Friday’s $1.62 closing price. The price has halved this year as media stocks have been battered amid a slowing economy and investor concerns. The company also noted the “continued weakness in the wider advertising market.” Stokes made headlines last month when his Seven Group Holdings said it was “actively considering acquiring further shares” in Consolidated Media Holdings, just after News Corp had bid $2B for the company. Seven Group Holdings owns 24% of CMH, but the market was skeptical that Stokes could outbid Rupert Murdoch. “He may be trying to extract a higher offer from News,” an analyst told Deadline at the time.
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