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Australia's APN ends talks with Independent News

Written by: Staff

MELBOURNE, Nov 24 (Reuters) Australia's APN News & Media said on Friday it had ended talks with Independent News & Media on a A$3.8 billion ($2.9 billion) buyout bid after the team led by the Irish media group failed to make a formal offer.

APN's shares fell 9 percent.

APN said it would be willing to resume talks with Independent, which already owns 40 percent of APN.

''We will continue to examine opportunities, including further discussions with INM, for the benefit of all APN shareholders,'' APN's deputy chairman Ted Harris said in a statement.

The talks began last month when Independent made an approach to take APN private with a team including private equity firm Providence Equity Partners.

The consortium was unable to come up with a formal offer within its own timetable after reviewing APN's books.

It was not clear when talks might resume, if at all.

''The door is still open,'' a source close to the discussions said.

A spokesman for the Independent News-led consortium was not immediately available for comment.

APN shares sank as low as A$5.61 and last traded down 6.7 percent at A$5.75, valuing the group at A$2.6 billion. The broader market slipped 0.2 percent.

Reuters SBA VP0658

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