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Australia's Fairfax Media gets revised US$2b offer from TPG-led group

[SYDNEY] Australian newspaper publisher Fairfax Media Ltd on Monday said it has received a revised A$2.76 billion (S$2.86 billion) cash offer led by US private equity firm TPG Capital Management for all of the company.

The offer from TPG and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board (OTPP) values Fairfax at A$1.20 a share, and compares with a previous proposal to buy the company's top mastheads, including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review, and its property listings unit Domain for A$0.95 a share.

That would have left investors with scrip exposure to the publisher's radio division, regional and New Zealand titles, a stake in an online television streaming start-up and its debt. The TPG consortium valued those assets at A$0.25 to A$0.30 a share, but Evans & Partners analysts said that was "optimistic".

The latest offer represents a 12 percent premium to Fairfax's A$1.07 closing price on Friday.

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The media group said it was reviewing the indicative proposal from TPG and OTPP, which is subject to conditions including due diligence access, a shareholder vote and foreign investment approvals. "Fairfax shareholders do not need to take any action in response to the revised indicative proposal and the Fairfax board will update shareholders when it has been fully assessed,"the company said.

If accepted, the offer would end Fairfax's much anticipated plan to unlock shareholder value by spinning off its lucrative property listings unit, Domain, the most valuable part of the business after a collapse of earnings at news mastheads.

A TPG spokesman was not available for immediate comment.

REUTERS

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