The West

Fairfax up as Singo buys shares

Fairfax Media shares have jumped more than 7 per cent after advertising man John Singleton climbed onto the struggling publisher's share register.

A notice filed with the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday showed Mr Singleton had acquired about 3.55 million shares during a nine-day spending spree from December 3 to December 11.

The purchase, which cost about $1.7 million and made in conjunction with investment banker Mark Carnegie, represented about 0.15 per cent of Fairfax shares.

In a shortened New Year's Eve trading session, Fairfax soared 7.37 per cent, or 3.5 cents, to 51 cents, with 16.7 million shares changing hands.

In percentage terms, Fairfax was the best-performing stock on the S&P/ASX100.

In a statement on Friday, Mr Singleton said he had joined forces with his long-time friend Gina Rinehart to push for a "significant" say in the Fairfax.

Mrs Rinehart held about 15 per cent of Fairfax stock and had been trying to secure a seat on the board.

IG Markets analyst Stan Shamu said the market reaction suggested investors were keen for more measures to bolster Fairfax's balance sheet.

"The market is probably anticipating further asset sales and further actions," Mr Shamu said on Monday.

In December, the company sold its remaining stake in New Zealand online auction site Trade Me to raise $616 million.

In 2011, Fairfax unsuccessfully tried to offload its radio stations including Melbourne's 3AW and Sydney's 2UE, saying there was a lack of acceptable offers.

Mr Singleton's Macquarie Radio Network, which owns Sydney's 2GB and 2CH, was a keen buyer but came away empty handed after the radio sale was called off.

He said in a statement on Friday night that he and Mr Carnegie purchased shares in Fairfax as a result of the board "definitely closing the door" on a sale or joint-venture of radio assets to Macquarie Radio.

"With my preferred direct route closed, I have decided to pursue another path," Mr Singleton said.

Fairfax reported a $2.7 billion statutory net loss for the 12 months to June 30, 2012 amid a 6 per cent drop in revenue.

The West Australian

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