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Southern Cross Agrees to Macquarie Media Offer

Macquarie Media Group agreed to pay A$1.09 billion (US$937 million) to buy the remaining stake in Southern Cross Broadcasting and sell part of SCB's assets to Fairfax Media.

Southern Cross shares rose as much as 6.7% on news of the bid, which was recommended by the company's board.

Macquarie Media, which last year bought a 13.8% stake in Southern Cross, would pay A$17.41 per share, a near 6% premium over Southern Cross's last traded price, giving Southern Cross an enterprise value of A$1.35 billion. Enterprise value includes debt.

Macquarie Media will sell Southern Cross's metropolitan radio businesses, Southern Star, Satellite Music Australia and other associated businesses, while retaining Southern Cross's regional television operations.

"Southern Cross TV is a strong business with stable cash flows, strong market positions and the potential for business improvements as the skills and commitment of the employees are leveraged across Macquarie Media's combined regional media assets," said MMG Managing Director Alex Harvey.

Fairfax will pay a net A$480 million in cash to buy SCB's assets from Macquarie Media.

Australia's media landscape is undergoing major changes since new media ownership laws came into effect in April.

The government relaxed a 20-year old limit on foreign ownership of Australian media companies and allowed cross ownership of newspaper, radio and television interests in the same city. Southern Cross has frequently been cited as a possible takeover target after the law change.

Southern Cross' TV unit produces the Big Brother reality TV series under a joint venture with the show's Dutch creator, Endemol.

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