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News Corp dumps NZME stake at discount

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/10/2016 Paul McBeth

News Corp dumps NZME stake at discount © Stephen Yang/ Bloomberg News News Corp dumps NZME stake at discount Australian media giant News Corp has quit its stake in local media group NZME at a deep discount.

The publishing arm of the Murdoch family's media empire sold its entire 14.9 per cent stake in the New Zealand firm, which wants to merge with its biggest rival Fairfax New Zealand, News spokeswoman Liz Deegan confirmed to BusinessDesk.

NZX data show 13 million of News' 29.4 million dual-listed NZME shares sold at 67.8 cents on the New Zealand market on Friday for an aggregate $8.8 million, an 11 per cent discount to Thursday's closing price.

The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk column reported the shares were sold at 64 Australian cents, less than the 70.5 cents ASX close on Thursday, with the A$20m ($NZ21m) block trade handled by Citigroup and Forsyth Barr.

News inherited the NZME stake as part of the New Zealand unit's demerger from APN News & Media, which it bought into when Ireland's Independent News & Media quit the Australasian company.

News went on to buy APN's Australian regional newspaper division, though the timeline for that deal has been delayed after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission sought comment on the transaction.

NZME shares fell 4 per cent to 73 cents on the NZX, and were down 4 per cent to 67.7 Australian cents on the ASX.

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