Dec 17, 2012

Save me, Trade Me: Fairfax sells profitable NZ site

Debt-plagued Fairfax has moved to a full sale of profitable Kiwi classifieds site Trade Me. Was it the right move, as the company seeks to pay down debt in a troubled market? Myriam Robin and Matthew Knott report.


When Fairfax sold 15% of its stake in profitable New Zealand classifieds site Trade Me in June, Microsoft executive turned technology investor Daniel Petre knew a full sale wasn’t far away.

Petre — who is reportedly poised to sign up with Fairfax to advise on digital opportunities — tells Crikey the company’s decision, signalled on the weekend, to sell its remaining 51% stake in the Kiwi cash cow is “exactly the right thing to do”. Not everyone agrees, however.

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2 thoughts on “Save me, Trade Me: Fairfax sells profitable NZ site

  1. John Bennetts

    70% in 6 years is about 9%pa. As investments go and after allowance for risk (ie the whole thing might end up cactus, like everything else Fairfax has engaged in of late), this is close to comparison with stuffing your money under the mattress.

    It is nowhere near close to being a masterly investment. Good result? Perhaps.

    Australia has the misfortune to be standing by as its entertainment, publishing, news and media industries all shrivel, so it could be said that a single subsidiary earning 9% pa is impressive – but only in relation to the company it is keeping.

  2. tom cook

    It’s now very very clear. Management has no strategy at all. They’ve sold their cash cow, growth piece essentially because they can’t manage the transition or demise of the print business. The fact that they are trying to get the ecorp team – now THIRD hand after plays with Packer and then Murdoch – says it all.
    This board and management have asserted that they have a digital future. There is absolutely no evidence of that and they are in a year where their earnings are going to be clobbered.
    All you can see are vultures chewing at the carcass. Directors, management and masses of consultants.

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