NZX gets second bid for Farmers Weekly publication, says divestment 'imminent'

NZX advises that it has received a second bid for its Farmers Weekly business and that the completion of the Farmers Weekly divestment is imminent. Photo: Getty Images

NZX has received a second bid for agricultural publication Farmers Weekly three months after signing a non-binding sale agreement, and says a divestment of the paper is "imminent".

The stock market operator will update the market later this week, revealing the new bid in a cleansing notice to use a short-form disclosure for an offer of subordinated notes. The Wellington-based company said it's within continuous disclosure obligations, but also that the looming sale of Farmers Weekly fell under excluded information.

"NZX advises that it has received a second bid for its Farmers Weekly business and that the completion of the Farmers Weekly divestment is imminent," chair James Miller said in the notice. "A further update to the market will be provided later this week."

The company announced plans to sell the rural publication when reporting its first-half result in February, saying at the time it had signed a non-binding agreement which was expected to settle on April 1. The deal didn't give a price, but said it would be at no gain or loss to NZX, and the results showed NZX's agri division had $1.98 million of assets held for sale as at Dec. 31.

Since then, NZX's Farmers Weekly paid ad page equivalents climbed 6.8 percent to 423 in the four months ended April 30 from a year earlier.

NZX is refocusing on its core market operations, with recent consultations on listing and governance rule changes, emphasising the need to drive greater liquidity on the local market.

The shares were unchanged at $1.10 and have declined 1.8 percent so far this year.