Nine Entertainment, Parent of Allphones Arena & Ticketek, to Launch An IPO

Nine Entertainment Co, the Australian media conglomerate that owns Ticketek, Sydney’s Allphones arena and the free-to-air broadcaster Nine Network, is to launch an initial public offering.

The entertainment group has released a prospectus for the float, which it expects to raise Australian $697 million ($660 million) of fresh capital and give it a market capitalization of about $2.2 billion ($2.09 billion).

The retail offer for shares will open on Nov. 1 and Nine expects to begin trading Dec. 12 on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). New shareholders would own about 33% of the firm.

“A listing on the ASX will help us to continue our strong momentum and consolidate our position as a leading free-to-air TV network in Australia, maintain our strong industry position and expand the Nine Events business,” comments Nine CEO David Gyngell in a statement.

Just a year earlier, Nine Entertainment avoided administration when its lenders (hedge funds Apollo and Oaktree, and investment bank Goldman Sachs) reached a deal over its $3.3 billion debt.

The entertainment company was bought by CVC Capital Partners at the top of the market in 2007, and its debt burden grew as the advertising market softened.

Nine's 20,000-plus capacity Allphones Arena (formerly Acer Arena) in west Sydney makes regular entries at the top of the Billboard Boxscore, and Ticketek is one of the two giant ticket companies in Australia (the other is Ticketmaster) with a marketshare estimated at about 40%.

The group’s cornerstone Nine Network is the broadcast home to “The Voice,” which proved to be a phenomenon in its two seasons to date. The 2012 first-series final broke the 3 million milestone, making it the highest-rating entertainment show since ratings agency OzTam opened for business in 1999. The second-series final was also a huge hit, clocking in at well over two million viewers.

The Sydney-based Nine group’s portfolio also includes a 50% interest in online portal ninemsn.