It’s widely expected the Fairfax board will reject a $2.2 billion for parts of the 176-year-old publishing business by US private equity firm TPG.
The rejection of the bid follows a tumultuous week at Fairfax that saw journalists on a seven-day strike, the company’s CEO Greg Hywood’s lavish multi-million dollar salary revealed and yesterday’s extraordinary attack by senior government minister Peter Dutton who labelled the publisher “idealogical” and “out of touch”.
Fairfax’s own The Australian Financial Review (which was set to be part of the TPG offer) has today reported the bid will be rejected as “the bulk of Fairfax shareholders has been largely against the 95¢ a share bid”.
The problem is that TPG only wanted the juicy bits of the business, that included its mastheads and Fairfax’s jewel in the crown Domain real estate business. TPG valued those at $2.2 billion; however, shareholders wanted the lot sold off – its New Zealand operations. Macquarie Radio assets and SVOD Stan – and valued the entire company at $3.1 billion. An offer, TPG apparently refused.
“The TPG consortium offer values the entirety of Fairfax Media at $1.20 per share to $1.25 per share. Shareholders are known to be seeking a new bid for the whole of Fairfax between $1.20 per share and $1.40 per share,” the AFR has reported.
“Market sources reckon TPG will come back with an all-cash offer between $1.20 per share and $1.25 per share for the entire company – where its private equity giant valued Fairfax in its initial proposal.”
Neither Fairfax nor TPG have yet made any official comment.