Australian Regional Media chief executive officer Neil Monaghan
Australian Regional Media chief executive officer Neil Monaghan Kevin Farmer

Australian Regional Media sale wins shareholder approval

AUSTRALIAN Regional Media is edging closer to being owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp after shareholders in ARM's parent company APN News & Media approved a $36.6 million deal on Friday.

ARM is a leading publisher in regional Queensland and Northern New South Wales that includes a portfolio of 12 daily newspapers, 60 community newspapers and non-daily publications, and more than 30 regional news websites and mobile sites, including this one.

On Friday, APN shareholders were asked to support the sale of ARM to News Corp.

The sale was approved by 99.94% of shareholders who voted, not including News Limited and its associated shareholders.

News Corp took a 14.9% stake in APN in March last year.

ARM chief executive officer Neil Monaghan said while shareholder approval was a "significant step", the sale was not yet finalised.

"The proposed sale of ARM is still subject to other conditions, including regulatory approvals and other required third-party consents," he said in an email to staff.

He also thanked staff for their "continued hard work".

When News Corp was named as the buyer for ARM in July, Mr Monaghan told staff that the sale process had been a difficult time but were being offered "a much brighter future under someone who wants to own and invest in the business of news media".

He added that News Corp Australiasia executive chairman Michael Miller - former CEO of APN - "understands and knows our business well".

The sale must now be approved by the Foreign Industry Review Board and the ACCC, along with a variety of other conditions, before it can go ahead.

APN Chairman Peter Cosgrove said the company and News Corp were now in the process of seeking those approvals.

The sale of ARM would allow APN to "better pursue opportunities and develop strategies and capital structures relevant to a growth media business, allowing APN to continue to drive innovation across its portfolio of assets".

Once sold, APN has vowed to focus on its radio and outdoor companies including Australian Radio Network and Adshel.