Australia's Fairfax in exclusive talks with Business Spectator: source

MELBOURNE Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:25am EDT

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian newspaper company Fairfax Media Ltd (FXJ.AX) is in exclusive talks to acquire the publisher of independent news and opinion website Business Spectator, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said on Tuesday.

Fairfax and Australian Independent Business Media (AIBM), which owns Business Spectator, have been in exclusive talks for a week, said the source, who declined to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Media reports, which have put the value of a deal around A$20 million ($21 million), have said that Fairfax was vying with News Corp's (NWSA.O) (NWS.AX) Australian arm News Ltd for AIBM. Business Spectator had revenues of A$3.6 million in the last fiscal year, according to reports.

Fairfax, which publishes the Australian Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in Melbourne, has said it is in the hunt for acquisitions.

Business Spectator editor-in-chief Alan Kohler told Reuters a sale process has been underway for some time, but declined to comment on whether there were exclusive talks.

"We have had a wide range of interest, some in the business and some investors. The process is still going on," Kohler said.

Chief Executive of the Australian Financial Review Group, Brett Clegg, referred to previous comments by Fairfax that it was seriously looking at Business Spectator, but declined to comment further.

As well as Business Spectator, AIBM also owns the Eureka Report personal investment newsletter.

($1 = 0.9697 Australian dollars)

(Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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