WA News AGM brings more Merger Speculation

West Australian Newspapers Holdings Ltd will hold its annual general meeting today in Perth.

WA News will release its first quarter results, and Credit Suisse First Boston has forecast net profit after tax growth of 16.7%, on the back of 5.1% revenue growth.

Amid ongoing speculation about giant shake ups from possible changes to media cross ownership laws, WA News admitted earlier this year that it is still interested in expanding outside its home state.

Managing Director, Ian Law, says the company casts its eye over many media assets, but is wary of overpaying for anything:

“…but that is not to say we don’t look at all media assets and options. It all comes down to price. We would look at a number of companies, just as a number of companies would look at us … everybody is looking at their options.”

And, WA News has been linked again with Fairfax. Michael West in ‘Margin Call’ in The Australian says the two had been talking about a merger earlier this year.

The report says there has been speculation lately about a scrip bid from WA News for Fairfax – an old style raid nabbing 14.9%, followed by a paper offer.

West says WA News is far smaller than Fairfax, but its scrip is rated more highly, so it is ‘not such a silly idea at a time when Fairfax has yet to anoint its next CEO’.

WA News publishes The West Australian and 19 regional newspapers, and already owns Redwave Media, Broadcasting as WAFM, RedFM and The Spirit Network throughout regional WA. In late June, WA News posted a yearly high on the Australian Stock Exchange, touching $7.09 before a record close at $7.05, up 10¢.