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Ten sells Eye, while Hastings battle looms

The S&P/ASX 200 index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has closed down 0.1% at 4,199.1, despite US and European markets posting positive gains overnight. In spite of the down day, the index has posted its best weekly performance since December 2011, rising 2.85% for the week.

The Australian dollar has fallen slightly against the greenback, but is still trading above 104 US cents.

Company news

Media company Ten Network Holdings (ASX: TEN) has announced it is selling its outdoor advertising business, Eye Corp to CHAMP Private Equity, and will receive up to $145m, comprising an initial $120m payment and $25m payable over three years. The proceeds will be used to reduce debt.

APA Group’s (ASX: APA) battle for control of Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund (ASX: HDF) hots up, after APA received the green light to proceed with a takeover from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. APA has offered around $2 per share for Hastings, but a consortium of Canadian and local investors countered with a $2.35 cash per share bid. Investors appear to expect a bidding war, with Hastings’ shares closing at $2.48, well above the current highest offer.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) CEO Michael Smith has confirmed he plans to remain at the helm to continue overseeing the banks expansion into Asia. He also said that China’s economy will continue to grow for decades, and added that the world’s current second largest economy will become a vitally important source of capital for Australia.

One of the world’s largest private equity firms TPG, has emerged as a potential bidder for debt-laden Nine Entertainment, in what sources say could be a $3 billion buyout, according to today’s Australian Financial Review.

Winners and losers

Toll Holdings Limited (ASX: TOL) climbed 7.6% to close at $4.12, perhaps on news that former chief executive Paul Little may be offered a board seat, while Seven West Media (ASX: SWM) staged a recovery after yesterday’s fall, rising 7.9% to end at $1.565.

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) shares fell 5%, perhaps on concerns over the falling iron ore price. The spot iron ore has now fallen below $130 a tonne for the first time this year.

Foolish takeaway

We hope you managed to see some portfolio gains this week. Have a great weekend Fools!

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.  The Motley Fool ‘s purpose is to help the world invest, better.  Take Stock  is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  Click here now  to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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