Allied Press takes 80% stake in Post A Note

Otago Daily Times publisher's buy-in provides "credibility, resources" to free online classified biz.

Allied Press, the privately held South Island newspaper company, has taken an 80 percent stake in Post A Note, the free online classified business, for an undisclosed amount.

The Dunedin-based publisher took the majority stake last September, according to the Companies Office records. Wanaka-based Post A Note runs the online classified service and app matching sellers and buyers across the New Zealand, but unlike similar sites such as Trade Me or UK-based Gumtree it doesn't charge users, instead earning revenue from banner ads on the website.

"We definitely plan on running Gumtree out of here," said Nathan Weathington, Post A Note general manager and co-founder. "As far as Trade Me, we don't really see ourselves as competing with them  – we do private stuff, and they've lost a lot of that already. As far as size, we hope to get to a user base that is quite large."

Weathington declined to say how many users Post A Note currently has, citing different measures of users making it difficult for comparison, but said the company was growing quickly.

"The difference between our business model and (Trade Me's) is we don't make much money," Weathington said. "There shouldn't be a billion dollar internet company with 4.5 million people, so we're much smaller in terms of revenue, but much higher in terms of users."

The company started in 2013 from the South Island, before recently launching in the North Island. Weathington said the tie-up with Allied Press gives the company credibility and resources to further establish itself across New Zealand and grow its user base.

Allied Press publishes its flagship paper Otago Daily Times, as well as several smaller South Island newspapers, having acquired Queenstown's Mountain Scene in 2013 and APN News & Media's South Island publications in 2012.

"Around the world, newspapers continue to engage with their local audiences through printed and digital media everyday," Julian Smith, Allied Press's chairman and managing director, said in a statement. "Just as we've built our community newspaper network across the South Island during the past 10 years, this investment will further serve communities and we are delighted to be involved."

Allied Press wasn't immediately available for comment.