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Fairfax sells down Trade Me to fund revamp

10:38 AEST Mon Jun 18 2012
Trade Me in halt amid report of share sale
Trade Me in halt amid report of share sale

Fairfax Media has sold down its stake in online auction site Trade Me to help pay for a three-year restructuring that will cost $A248 million ($NZ317m) and result in 1,900 job cuts.

The Sydney-based company sold 59.4 million shares in Trade Me - 15 per cent - at $A2.70 apiece, in a fully underwritten placement for a total $A160m. That was a 3.2 per cent discount to their price at the close of Australian trading on Friday.

It plans to hold its stake in Trade Me at 51 per cent.

Trading in Trade Me shares will remain halted until the bookbuild is completed.

The sale is part of an overhaul of Fairfax's ailing metro print business, which will see the Sydney Morning Herald and Age newspapers reduced to tabloid size from March next year, while their online presence will be put behind a paywall.

Trade Me shares fell 2.5 per cent to $NZ3.56 in Friday trading on the NZX, and have surged 32 per cent from their sale in November.