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Irish are after the scalp of APN’s Brett Chenoweth

Friday, 15 February 2013
By Print 21 Online Article

Trading halt in newspaper media company’s shares as its largest shareholder, Ireland-based Independent News & Media, which owns 29 per cent of APN, seeks an extraordinary general meeting to sack managing director, Chenoweth.

The company suspended trading in its shares until Tuesday as both INM and the second largest shareholder, Australian fund manager, Allan Gray, which owns 19 percent, join forces to stop the company seeking to raise more money. The move comes ahead of APN’s reporting its 2012 results on Thursday.

In a statement requesting a trading halt APN said it, requests that an immediate trading halt be granted by the Australian Securities Exchange, in light of press reports today regarding comments by Independent News & Media PLC (INM) concerning APN’s CEO and the potential calling of an extraordinary general meeting. APN is investigating these comments, but believes these comments arise from the fact that APN is considering a pro rata capital raising, in respect of which it is being advised by Macquarie Capital (Australia) Limited.

The non INM representative Directors of APN unanimously support Mr Brett Chenoweth (pictured) and the strategy being implemented under his leadership.

The UK reports in The Independent newspaper have INM saying its has lost confidence in Mr Chenoweth’s ability to implement the strategic initiatives necessary to reposition APN for the more challenged media landscape that has emerged in Australasia.” Denis O’Brien, Irish telco tycoon and bitter enemy of the O’Reilly family that controlled the Dublin-based company for years, owns 30 percent of INM. Gavin O’Reilly, long-term APN director and chairman of APN left the company in April last year as the family’s shareholding in INM slid to 14 percent.

“Notwithstanding its market-leading positions, APN has underperformed, as evidenced by a near halving of APN’s interim profits in the period from the first half of 2010 to the first half of 2012,”said the announcement.

The turmoil comes following reports that APN was in discussions with News Limited about sharing printing presses in Queensland. Similar talks with Fairfax last year petered out. APN has invested in online digital companies in recent times, to the dismay of its largest shareholders.

It is seeking to raise extra money in a pro rata issue in which it is being advised by Macquarie Capital.

 

 

 

 

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