Oz shopping spree

Macquarie Group scours for media assets

Macquarie Bank has formed Macquarie Media Group, a new investment fund that seeks to raise up to A$996 million ($757 million) to go shopping for local and overseas media assets.

Macquarie Regional Radioworks will be the first asset contained in the fund; bank’s previously purchased network of 85 regional licenses is valued at $418 million.

Fund will provide investors with a combination of exposure to the attractive investment characteristic of the media sector as well as the stable underlying cash flow of Macquarie Regional Radioworks, said fund topper Tim Hughes, who worked at Reg Grundy’s group of companies for 20 years.

Fund would make the media-friendly bank a major player in the event of an expected abolition of Oz’s cross-media ownership laws next year.

Current laws allow companies to own two of the three media — TV, radio and print — in each city market; expected loosening of the laws could result in a number of merger and acquisition opportunities in the media sector.

Possible targets for MMG include newspaper operator Fairfax — also rumored to be in the sights of Kerry Packer’s PBL if the laws relax — and regional TV groups to complement the regional radio asset.

Bank has a history in the entertainment industry running funds such as the Macquarie Nine Film & Television Fund, which invested directly in a number of Aussie feature and TV productions.

MMG’s initial public offering opens Oct. 18 and shares are expected to begin trading Nov. 17.

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