It's business as usual APN divest ARM

IT'S business as usual at Seniors News Network as one of the largest regional publishing businesses in Australia, Australian Regional Media, goes up for sale. Its owner,

APN, announced in its 2015 results to the sharemarket this week the move to divest ARM was to allow APN to concentrate on its metro businesses, while giving the newspaper publisher a chance to gain new investment for its own expansion projects.

ARM is the publisher of Seniors News Network-  

It is responsible for 12 daily papers through Queensland and northern NSW, alongside more than 70 community and specialist titles.

APN chief executive Ciaran Davis was upbeat on ARM's prospects saying this was the right strategy and that ARM needed new partners to help fast-track its future position in the digital sphere.

''This will give ARM the opportunity to invest where required, without having to compete for APN's capital, while continuing to provide quality news and content to its audiences," he said.

Mr Davis would not comment on potential partners, except to say there had been early discussions with a number of suitors and there was interest in ARM. News Ltd, with former APN CEO Michael Miller now ensconced in its leadership ranks, snapped up a 15% stake last year.

ARM CEO Neil Monaghan said his business was likely to be attractive to canny investors.

''Media rule changes and ability for us to further cement our dominance in regional areas through new ventures means ARM will be a sought-after asset,'' Mr Monaghan said.

He said the company's 1300 staff were running profitable businesses and had media dominance in key regional towns and cities in two states.

They should be confident in their ability to deliver strong readership and financial results under any ownership model.

''ARM operates pretty much independently on a day to day basis, so nothing really changes as a result of this announcement,'' he said.

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