Trade Me in trading halt as sale confirmed

ELLEN READ
Last updated 08:35 17/12/2012

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Fairfax Media has confirmed it is selling its 51 per cent stake in online auction house Trade Me.

In a statement to the stock exchange this morning, Trade Me said it had been advised that Fairfax Digital Holdings NZ Limited had entered into an agreement with an investment bank - understood to be UBS - for the sale of its remaining stake.

Trade Me said it understood that the book build for the sale was continuing. Its shares had been put in a trading halt here and across the Tasman.

News leaked during the weekend about the sale, with UBS busy placing the offer with Australian and New Zealand institutions.

Industry sources say there was strong demand for the stock on both sides of the Tasman, and those seeking to take up a slice of Fairfax's controlling stake were likely to have their bids scaled back from what they had asked for.

The bulk was expected to go to Australian institutions which have a strong appetite for investing in online operations, with only an estimated $150 million or so of the $810m deal coming from this side of the Tasman.

UBS was offering a price of A$3.05 per share (about NZ$3.80), a discount of 24c on Trade Me's New Zealand closing price on Friday of $4.05 and A17c to the Australian close.

* Fairfax Media owns press.co.nz and stuff.co.nz

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