PubliGroupe Gains on Bid From Swiss Newspaper Publisher Tamedia

PubliGroupe SA (PUBN) surged as much as 25 percent to the highest in almost three years after Tamedia AG (TAMN), which publishes the Zurich daily newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, bid for the advertising company to strengthen its position in the directory business.

The stock reached 158.70 Swiss francs, the highest since July 2011, in intraday trading. The shares traded up 23 percent at 12:01 p.m. in Zurich, giving the Lausanne-based company a market value of 346 million francs ($391 million). Tamedia shares advanced 2.7 percent.

Tamedia’s offer of 150 francs a share comes after PubliGroupe agree to sell its media-sales arm to focus on digital businesses. The purchase would give Tamedia the local.ch site, which provides phone number information and is at the “heart of the planned takeover,” according to the company’s April 17 statement.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Tamedia to get local.ch,” Daniel Buerki, an analyst at Zuercher Kantonalbank, said by phone. The newspaper publisher may need to raise its offer to close the deal, according to Buerki, who has a market weight recommendation on Tamedia.

Tamedia owns a 75 percent stake in search.ch, the leading directory and information platform in the Swiss market.

The media company said it will examine whether to retain stakes PubliGroupe owns in other businesses or sell them to the other owners. Tamedia doesn’t regard PubliGroupe’s 47.5 percent stake in German advertising network Zanox.de as strategic.

PubliGroupe’s board recommended shareholders to take no action until it analyzes the offer, saying it noted the advance “with surprise.” The stock market was closed April 18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jan Schwalbe in Zurich at jschwalbe6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephen Foxwell at sfoxwell@bloomberg.net Thomas Mulier, Robert Valpuesta

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