PRIVATE equity firm CVC has appointed Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and UBS to advise on the possible initial public offering (IPO) of television network Nine Entertainment, in a deal that could be worth $5bn (£3.2bn).
If a float proceeds, it could be the biggest in Australia since the nearly A$10bn IPO of Telstra Corp in 1997 and would exceed last year’s $4bn float of rail-freight firm QR National.
No final decision has been made on whether to float Nine, which owns the Nine Network, Australia’s largest magazine publisher ACP, and a 50 per cent stake in website carsales.com, said a market source.
“They are doing the hard yards so if and when they do decide to go, then the work has been done. It doesn’t mean a date has been set,” the source added.
CVC and UBS declined to comment. Credit Suisse did not return a call for comment, while Goldman Sachs could not immediately be reached.
Last month, executives from Nine Entertainment met with Australian fund managers to talk up the group’s earnings prospects, a move seen by investors as the first step towards an IPO.
The climate for IPOs has improved recently following the successful float of QR National, which rose more than 10 per cent above its 22 November listing price and is currently 4.7 per cent higher.
A float of Nine, which could come as early as April, would be the biggest private-equity float since TPG sold out of retailer Myer in late 2009.
City A.M. Reporter