* Nine is one of nation's best known media firms
* Shares expected to list Dec. 6
* Indicative price range of A$2.05 to A$2.35 a share
By Jackie Range and Thuy Ong
SYDNEY, Oct 31 Australia's Nine Entertainment Co
Pty Ltd is seeking to raise as much as $570 million
in an initial public offering, a person familiar with the
process said, a move that will help the troubled TV network pay
The IPO of one of the nation's best known media firms is
expected to be the biggest by an Australian company this year
and comes at a busy time for new listings Down Under.
The up to A$600 million offering will have an indicative
price range of A$2.05 to A$2.35 a share, the person said,
declining to be identified as the process is confidential.
That would give the company, which plans to list on Dec. 6,
a market capitalisation of A$1.9 billion to A$2.2 billion, the
Nine avoided receivership with U.S. hedge funds Oaktree
Capital Group and Apollo Global Management
taking control in a more than $3 billion debt for equity swap.
Contract for difference provider IG is offering a "grey
market" which lets its clients trade derivatives ahead of Nine's
listing based on where they think the shares will end up after
the first day of trading.
"The demand is there... It then gets back to what will the
valuation be, most are holding it at 8 to 9 times earnings,"
said Evan Lucas, IG's market strategist, adding that the
valuation was similar to rival Seven West Media Ltd.
A key uncertainty for Nine is its level of debt, said Lucas.
"Most of these TV companies have huge amount of debt and
that's always going to be an issue in a situation where you're
relying on advertising dollars which is a very demanding and
very fluctuating market," he said.
Oaktree Capital, which owns some 28 percent of Nine is
expected to offload between 20 percent and 40 percent of its
stake, the person familiar with the matter said. Apollo, which
owns a reported 26 percent, is expected to hang on to all of its
The IPO prospectus will be lodged on Monday.
A spokeswoman for Nine declined to comment.
The debt-for-equity swap, approved by creditors in January
this year, saw CVC Capital Partners Ltd's A$1.8 billion
equity investment almost wiped out.
Nine's financial woes took a turn for the worse when the
global financial crisis hit as advertising revenues collapsed
across the media sector, slashing profits at TV networks.