UPDATED: Allan Gray reduces stake in APN News & Media
The Australian fund that helped force a boardroom shakeout at APN News & Media [ASX: APN] has reduced its stake in the group after earlier selling down its holding in rival Fairfax Media.
Allan Gray Australia has cut its stake in APN to about 15.5% from 17.7%, according to notices filed to the ASX. The fund forced a boardroom shake-out at APN in 2013 after baulking at the company's plans to raise capital to strengthen its balance sheet.
"With the share price having risen so much it's becoming a bigger and bigger part of our portfolio," Simon Mawhinney from Allan Gray Australia told BusinessDesk. " It's just normal portfolio management stuff," he said.
Last month APN put off the public share float for its newly consolidated Kiwi business, NZME, as it announced an 11% drop in annual profit for the New Zealand operations.
APN chief executive Michael Miller told BusinessDesk at the time that the delay wasn't due to a lack of investor interest but rather it was waiting for the benefits of the consolidation to get the best price.
Last year, the Sydney-based company bundled its New Zealand business, which includes The New Zealand Herald, The Radio Network and GrabOne, under the NZME banner to cut costs and package the assets for an initial public offering.
In a shareholder review published on Monday, APN said its goal is to outperform in each of its markets in 2015. The company also said it sees growth opportunities in Southeast Asia.
"It is pleasing that our share price is reflecting the changes the company is adopting," chairman Peter Cosgrove said in the review.
Overall, the Australasian group's net profit was $A11.5 million in the year ended December 31, up from $A2.6 million a year earlier. Revenue from continuing operations increased 3% to $843.2 million.
APN shares last traded at 93 Australian cents and have jumped 50 percent in the past 12 months, outpacing a 10 percent gain for the S&P/ASX 200 Index.