Sensis is reported to have outbid rival offers from John Fairfax Holdings, Kerry Packer’s Publishing and Broadcasting and News Corp.
The transfer of ownership and operation of The Trading Post Group in Australia is immediate, which will see Sensis take a major stake in the Australian classified advertising market. Sensis will now be responsible for operating 22 popular print publications, five complementary online sites, two automotive inserts and Australia’s number one classified advertising brand, Trading Post.
Amongst others, the Trading Post Group print publications include Trading Post (general classifieds), Things that Go (automotive), Collectormania (collectables), Auto Trader Xtra (automotive) and Zest For Life (retirement). Its complementary online sites include tradingpost.com.au, autotrader.com.au, thingsthatgo.com.au, buysell.com.au and collectormania.com.au.
Ziggy Switkowski, Telstra CEO, says, “This strategic acquisition brings together two leading advertising businesses to create a powerful presence in Australia’s fastest growing advertising market – local print and online advertising”.
According to Bruce Akhurst, Group managing director for broadband and media, says that the acquisition will generate revenues of approximately $148m in calendar year 2004, and with added substantial Sensis and Trading Post Group revenue and cost synergies resulting from this acquisition.
“The incremental EBITDA to Sensis from this investment and its associated benefits will exceed $64m in the 2004/05 operating year and I’m delighted one of our key growth vehicles, Sensis, has been able to secure a deal that will deliver significant value to Telstra shareholders,” says Akhurst.
Sensis says it will operate the Trading Post initially as a stand-alone business. Roderick McAllery, Trading Post Group CEO, will continue as CEO and become a member of the Sensis Executive Leadership Team. There will be no change to the current Trading Post Group management structure. Trading Post’s staff base of nearly 830 people, and its Australian-based operations and facilities will now come under Sensis management.
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