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APN hits regional Oz with group buying

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Media group APN is the latest old-media player to embrace the group buying phenomenon, increasing its stake in New Zealand based group buying site, GrabOne, from 50 percent to 75 percent.

APN has already started expanding the site through Australia. GrabOne has recently launched in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Wollongong, Towoomba and Newcastle. In the coming months there are plans to launch GrabOne in an additional nine other regions: Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, and Townsville.

It’s joined the “hyper-local” bandwagon, saying it will target under-served communities that just happen to match APN’s regional radio and newspaper footprint.

The company will also launch in major metropolitan cities but aims to carve a niche in regional areas where analysts believe there will be the next wave of group buying growth. GrabOne was launched last year in New Zealand and covers 13 regions.

The group buying site was founded by serial kiwi entrepreneur Shane Bradley and APN through a JV vehicle called IdeaHQ founded in 2009.

Based in Auckland, IdeaHQ was formed as a holding company to a range of online businesses that both shareholders own and to use as a platform for development or sale. For APN it appears the vehicle is an incubator for the wider media group. The former head of APN Online, Warren Lee, was a director of the company but it is unclear if he will remain with company after his exit from APN this month. ®

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