The company which owns the Nine Network will start trading on the Australian Securities Exchange on December 6 – less than a year after a major debt financing deal was approved.
Under the float, Nine Entertainment Co Holdings, which owns the Nine Network and Ticketek, will have a market capitalisation of between $1.93 billion and $2.17 billion.
The company on Monday lodged a prospectus for an initial public offering, which includes Australia’s second highest rating TV network.
Eligible investors are expected to pay between $2.05 and $2.35 per share.
Nine chief executive David Gygnell said the listing would help the company maintain its market position and grow its event business, which operates Ticketek, and its ninemsn websites operated by Mi9.
“A listing on the ASX will help us to continue our strong momentum and consolidate our position as a leading FTA (free to air) TV network in Australia, maintain our strong industry position and expand the Nine Events business, and continue to grow Mi9 and our other digital media assets,” he said.
Institutional investors may be wary about the float, considering that until a year ago, Nine had owed $2.3 billion to US hedge funds Apollo and Oaktree, and another $1 billion to investment bank Goldman Sachs.
“I don’t think the big investors will be rushing towards this,” said Steve Allen, the founder of media planning business Fusion Strategy.
But, he said, smaller retail investors were more likely to be excited at the prospect of buying into a TV network as the advertising market improves during the next three years.
“Television’s a mature business but its outlook is quite reasonable,” he said.
In late January, Federal Court justice Peter Jacobson approved a $3.4 billion refinancing deal which ended private equity group CVC Asia-Pacific’s stewardship of Nine, and wrote off a $1.9 billion investment loss.
Apollo and Oaktree were also given directorship rights, as lenders were able to swap their debt for shares in Nine.
In recent months, they have bought WIN’s TV stations in Adelaide and Perth, and purchased Microsoft’s 50 per cent stake in digital group Mi9.