Is Kerry Packer planning to sell off his magazine business? PBL has very quietly revealed a seemingly important name change for its magazine business. ACP (Australian Consolidated Press) is now called ACP Magazines Ltd, as this web page shows.

And the company has changed the email address from [email protected] to [email protected] This was introduced without warning yesterday. The home page for ACP Magazines has also changed – its second update this year – to coincide with the name change.

The use of a limited liability company rather than a proprietary company is curious, but one media analyst says the name and structure change makes it easier for ACP Magazines to be separated from the PBL parent.

Separating ACP Magazines from PBL paves the way for a float or a trade sale. The most logical buyer is US company Hearst Magazines, which has joint ventures here and in the UK with the Packer magazine group.

There’s already considerable speculation that Nine’s TV and pay TV interests are now in a structure that can be easily separated.

ACP could be worth upwards of $3 billion and Nine and the other interests around $4 billion (at optimistic values).

And if anyone thinks this is a small administrative detail, remember that the Packers never do anything administratively without a purpose. Changing company names costs money and the Packers consider it to be their money!

Peter Fray

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