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APN Agrees to Revised $2.2 Billion Independent Offer

Australia's APN News and Media on Monday agreed to a revised A$2.8 billion (US$2.2 billion) offer from a consortium including Tony O'Reilly's Independent News and Media.

Independent and private equity firms Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners raised their offer to A$6.10 per share from last month's A$6.05 per share, APN said in a statement. The deal values APN at A$2.8 billion, or A$3.8 billion when including its debt and convertible notes.

Independent will reduce its stake in APN to 35% from 42% under the deal, while Caryle will hold 27.5% and Providence 37.5%. Previous talks ended in November, after Independent made a joint approach with Providence for A$6.02 per share.

"After negotiating the increase from the initial proposal of A$6.02 per share to a final offer of A$6.10, the independent committee has formed the view that the increased offer is in the shareholders' best interests and we recommend all shareholders vote in favor of the proposal," Ted Harris, chairman of APN's independent committee, said in a statement.

The deal values APN at 13 times attributable 2006 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), APN said.

Shares in APN, which owns New Zealand's largest paper and a string of radio stations, closed on Friday at A$6.05 per share.