Nine Entertainment Co has confirmed an agreement to sell 100% of its Nine Live business to funds advised by Affinity Equity Partners (Affinity) for an enterprise value of $640 million.
As part of the transaction, Affinity and NEC have also entered into certain contractual arrangements which preserve the respective commercial relationships and benefits that have prevailed during NEC’s ownership of the Nine Live business.
David Gyngell, chief executive officer of NEC, said: “Nine Live has grown strongly under NEC ownership for the past eight years. The team, led by Geoff Jones, has done a remarkable job expanding the business into Touring and Events and, more recently, into international sports and exhibitions.
“The sale of the business provides an attractive outcome for NEC shareholders, releasing significant proceeds to enable enhanced shareholder returns while retaining substantial financial flexibility. We will also retain a commercial relationship with the business and look forward to continuing to work together in areas where there are mutual benefits between NEC and Nine Live.
“With the sale of Nine Live, our focus now is on optimising the performance of our free-to-air TV, digital and subscription streaming businesses and maximising returns to our shareholders.”
The sale is expected to complete on 31 July 2015 subject to certain customary completion conditions being satisfied.
Following completion, NEC reported it will be in a net cash position, with undrawn bank facilities providing significant balance sheet flexibility to explore future options as they arise.
Among the artists toured by Nine Live includes Ricky Martin and English/Irish boyband One Direction.