Macquarie Radio Network major shareholder, John Singleton, is set for a public float next year of his two Sydney radio stations, 2GB and 2CH.
A memo has been sent to staff, outlining plans for the float, and Singleton has announced the move to employees. He has appointed accountant, Max Donnelly, to prepare the group for the initial public offering.
Analysts say the deal could be worth up to $400 million. Singleton and breakfast star, Alan Jones, stand to be the biggest winners if the float proceeds.
Donnelly has told Simon Canning in The Australian that he was called by Singleton on Friday, asking him to head the preparation for the float.
“My role is to trim the business and get it ready for sale. The date I got from Singo was mid 2005.”
Some analysts think Singleton has made the move to try to go to the market before the Government changes media ownership laws next year.
Others believe the timing could be perfect, saying it is not surprising, considering the strength of the media market. They feel another key factor is the sheltered nature of the talk based radio market, compared to the FM dial, with two new music stations to launch next year in Sydney.
The potential float comes after several failed bids by the Virgin Radio joint venture with Richard Branson to win this year’s auctions for new FM licences in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
Singleton is also founder, major shareholder and director of STW Communications Group Ltd, a publicly listed advertising media and communications company.
Earlier this year, STW made $53 million with the sale of its interest in the Indonesian tv network, SCTV, to an investment consortium comprising Mark Carnegie, Singleton and fund managed by Ashmore Investment Management Ltd.