CORRS Chambers Westgarth has advised Daily Mail and General Trust plc (DMGT) on the transfer of 50 per cent of its interest in DMG Radio Australia, the owner of the Nova FM and Vega FM stations, to Lachlan Murdoch’s private investment company, Illyria.
The transaction will be a 50/50 joint venture between DMGT and Illyria with Lachlan Murdoch becoming chairman of DMG Radio Australia.
A statement from DMG did not disclose a sum, but it is understood the deal is worth $110 million, made up of $50 million in equity and $60 million in debt, as Business Spectator reports.
Corrs partner Peter Ickeringill said: “The deal will enable DMG Radio Australia to combine the global strength of DMGT with the local networks and expertise of Illyria."
The deal was challenging due to complex structuring issues and the need to secure a number of consents and approvals from government authorities and third parties.
Ickeringill has a long history of acting for DMGT in Australia and the Asia Pacific. The firm said this enabled Corrs to use its extensive knowledge of the business to complete the required due diligence and other aspects in an extremely short timeframe.
“Delivering a very comprehensive vendor due diligence report in less than two weeks shows the value that can be added to a transaction when a client has had both the foresight and generosity to allow its solicitors to become an integral part of their business processes over a long period of time.
"We were able to efficiently complete in less than two weeks a task that may have taken another firm up to six weeks or even longer," Ickeringill said.
A release filed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, posted on the Australian Securities Exchange, said Murdoch sold down $27.5 million of his personal holding in News Corporation between 23 and 25 November last year.
The deal was completed on 16 December 2009.
The deal was made sooner after Murdoch surprised the market by pulling out of a consortium of investors bidding for the bulk of Nielsen Business Media at the last minute, the Financial Times reports.
That deal has been completed by Pluribus Capital Management, and Murdoch's Illyria group was meant to be Pluribus' backer. US investment management firm Guggenheim partners has taken that role.