Australia's APN selling some New Zealand newspapers

WELLINGTON Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:15pm EST

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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Australian based media concern APN Ltd (APN.AX) is to sell some small New Zealand newspapers, but will keep the country's biggest daily paper and radio networks, the company said on Monday.

APN said it would sell groups of suburban newspapers based in Christchurch and Wellington, as well as a small South Island regional paper.

"We see more expansion opportunities in the North Island which will drive most of New Zealand's population growth over the next decade and where we have most of our New Zealand media businesses," local chief executive Martin Simons said in a statement.

APN said in May that it was reviewing its New Zealand media assets and looking at the options to maximise profits and value for shareholders, after receiving approaches.

The company will retain the New Zealand Herald, the country's biggest newspaper, and a number of small regional newspapers, and eight radio networks.

The company posted a loss of A$319.4 million in the six months to June 30, with earnings from its New Zealand assets down 20 percent. It wrote down the value of its New Zealand publishing business by A$485 million.

Shares in APN last traded down 1 percent at A$0.3070.

In June, APN took a majority stake in online shopping operator brandsExclusive.

($1=A$1.0362)

(Gyles Beckford)

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