MediaWorks looks ready for 2015 float

21:21, Oct 23 2014

The IPO pipeline in New Zealand media may be about to heat up.

APN News & Media is looking to spin off its Kiwi assets in a float this year and now it looks as though MediaWorks could soon follow.

The Australian Financial Review revealed the owners of the $300 million New Zealand television and radio group had discussed a potential sale with trade buyers, including Australia's Seven West Media, on a preliminary and informal basis.

It's understood UBS pitched MediaWorks around town earlier this year, although it is unclear whether there was a formal mandate. Sources said there was little interest among Australian potential trade buyers and an IPO was the most likely option.

It is believed a float would be likely to occur in the first quarter of next year.

UBS is expected to be there.

"UBS has for some time had a relationship with MediaWorks and its board," a MediaWorks spokeswoman told Street Talk. "Nothing has changed in that respect."

MediaWorks owns TV3 and Four, and radio stations including The Rock, More FM and Radio Live.

The company's controlling shareholder is US hedge fund Oaktree Capital, which also owns 14.3 per cent of Australia's Nine Entertainment Co.

MediaWorks effectively collapsed in the middle of last year due to high levels of borrowings, allowing debt holders such as Oaktree to take control.

Oaktree lifted its stake to 43 per cent in November last year - the same time a recapitalisation process reduced debt levels from more than $700 million to about $100 million.

The new MediaWorks company is chaired by Australian Rod McGeoch, who led the successful bid for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.