Broadcasting in Australia: The news on Nine

DAVID GYNGELL’S first child was born the night after he helped to arrange a recapitalisation of Nine Entertainment. The deal saved Australia’s second most popular free-to-air television network from administration. A year on, Nine’s chief executive is about to see his corporate baby toddle onto the stock exchange. Nine is due to re-list on December 6th with an expected market capitalisation of about A$2 billion ($1.8 billion).Nine’s controlling shareholders, Oaktree Capital Management and Apollo Global Management, two American hedge funds, will reduce their combined stakes from 53% to 36%. They are taking advantage of a rising equity market, of Nine’s rising ratings and of its growing share of the metropolitan free-to-air advertising market.The share issue, however, is not being underwritten by its joint lead managers—two global banks, UBS and Morgan Stanley, and two local ones, Commonwealth and Macquarie. This suggests that some investors may be wary about backing a free-to-air broadcaster when digital advertising is growing apace and the government is rolling out a national broadband network. The free float will be limited to one-third of the new shares.Nine has endured as much drama as an episode of “Hostages” (a show it imports from America). Late last year the broadcaster was facing bankruptcy until a proposal by Oaktree and Apollo to convert its more than A$3 billion…

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