Ironbridge to acquire New Zealand’s MediaWorks for $407m

Ironbridge Capital is set to take over MediaWorks in New Zealand after it reached an agreement to buy out the company’s 70 percent shareholder in a transaction that values the company at $407 million.

Ironbridge Capital, a Sydney-based buyout firm, is buying a 70 percent stake in CanWest MediaWorks, New Zealand largest media company, held by Canadian shareholder for NZ$386 million ($285m; €210m).

The private equity buyer will make an offer for the remaining shares not held by the Canadian media owner for the agreed purchase price of NZ$2.43 per share, valuing MediaWorks at NZ$551 million ($407m; €299m), excluding debt, or NZ$727 million, including debt.

The acquisition is subject to approval by New Zealand Investment Office.

Ironbridge’s offer represents a 49 percent premium to the MediaWorks’ closing price of NZ$1.63 a share on 20 October 2006, the day before CanWest revealed its decision to reconsider its ownership in the New Zealand media company.

Citigroup Global Markets Australia was the financial advisor to the media owner.

CanWest is also trying to sell its 56 percent stake in Ten Network, ranked Australia’s third most popular television station. The Australian media landscape is undergoing radical changes with international private equity groups grabbing assets following changes that have made room for foreign and cross-media ownership. CVC Asia, KKR, The Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners are among the groups that are buying up assets in Australia.

The MediaWork transaction is Ironbridge’s fourth investment in New Zealand. The private equity firm raised A$1.05 billion for a second fund that closed toward the end of 2006.