UPDATED: News Corp buys APN stake in share sale

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has bought a 14.9% stake in APN News & Media [ASX: APN] after two of APN’s biggest shareholders sold their combined $300 million, 30.8% stake.

Independent News & Media sold 191 million shares worth approximately $180 million while Denis O’Brien’s Baycliffe sold 125 million shares worth $117 million.

The block trade, handled by Credit Suisse, resulted in APN being placed in a trading halt.

This leaves Sydney-based media group counts fund manager Allan Gray Australia as its biggest shareholder with 15.5%.

However, this month Allan Gray disclosed it had reduced its holding in APN from 17.7%, which it said just reflected portfolio management after the share gained.

Allan Gray helped force a boardroom shakeout at APN News & Media in 2013 and had also previously reduced its stake in Fairfax Media.

APN News & Media, which last year bundled its New Zealand assets into a separate vehicle for a potential listing, has seen its ASX-listed shares climb 52 percent in the past 12 months.

Last month APN put off the public share float for its newly consolidated kiwi business, NZME, which holds assets including The New Zealand Herald, The Radio Network and GrabOne.

The shares last traded at about 94 Australian cents before being halted.

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