APN News & Media's top bosses resign

Updated: Monday, 18 Feb 2013 11:11

Australian media group APN News & Media has reported the resignation of its chairman Peter Hunt, managing director Brett Chenoweth and four other directors.

This follows a clash with its major shareholders.

Inpendent News and Media has a 29% stake in the Australian group.

The board and management had proposed a capital raising to reduce APN's debts but the plan was resolutely opposed by INM and fund manager Allan Gray, whose Orbis arm owns another 20%.

INM said on Friday it wanted a general meeting to remove Mr Hunt and Mr Chenoweth, as well as independent directors Melinda Conrad, John Harvey, Kevin Luscombe and John Maasland.

If successful, this would have left only deputy chairman Ted Harris, independent director Paul Connolly and INM's Vincent Crowley on the board.

INM said it had lost confidence in Mr Chenoweth's ability to implement the strategic initiatives necessary to reposition APN for the more challenged media landscape that has emerged in Australasia.

Meanwhile, Independent News and Media has agreed details of a deal with Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium for the sale of its South African business.

The deal is worth about €170m.

The disposal of the South African business will require both Independent shareholder approval and Competition Commission approval in South Africa.

Independent News and Media is selling the business to pay down some of its €430m debt. It said the details of the deal will remain confidential.

Last week the company said it was attempting to remove the chief executive of an Australian media operation in which it has a 29% stake.