MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Lachlan Murdoch has bought the remaining 50 percent of Australian radio network DMG Radio Australia he did not already own, three years after he first bought into the joint venture company.
Radio advertising remains one of the few bright spots in the Australian media landscape, with newspapers and television suffering from a steep slide in revenues that has slashed profits and forced several billion dollars’ worth of writedowns in the reporting season just ended.
Murdoch, the chairman of DMG Radio which has a network of nine stations in Sydney, Melbourne and other capital cities, said the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation had doubled since November 2009.
“The IRR (internal rate of return) on our initial investment is more than 60 percent,” Murdoch said in a statement.
Murdoch did not disclose the price his investment firm Illyria paid to buy the 50 percent stake from British newspaper publisher Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGOa.L), but The Australian newspaper reported the amount paid was about A$100 million (64 million pounds).
Speculation earlier this year suggested Lachlan Murdoch, the eldest son of Rupert Murdoch, could return to an executive role with News Corp (NWSA.O), but Rupert Murdoch dismissed that as “highly unlikely” as Lachlan was focusing on his business interests in Australia.
Lachlan Murdoch also owns 9 percent and is chairman of Australia’s third-ranked TV network, Ten Network Holdings Ltd TEN.AX, which was forced into a heavily discounted capital raising in June amid an advertising downturn. He remains a director of News Corp.
Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Eric Meijer