The sale of Fairfax is looking increasingly likely with the media company receiving a new buyout offer from a second global private equity outfit and inviting both suitors to conduct due diligence.

Hellman & Friedman has offered to buy 100 per cent of Fairfax Media at a price between $1.225 to $1.25 per share. That’s higher than the offer TPG made on Monday of $1.20 per share — $2.76 billion cash — to acquire all of the company.

Previously the TPG Consortium had only wanted to buy real estate business Domain, the three main newspaper mastheads — The Australian Financial Review, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald — events and digital ventures (excluding Stan) for around $2.2 billion.

This morning the company announced the Fairfax Board has considered both indicative proposals and will invite both Hellman & Friedman and the TPG Consortium to conduct due diligence in order to establish whether an acceptable binding transaction can be agreed.

“The Fairfax Board appreciates the support shareholders have demonstrated for Fairfax’s current strategy and the potential separation of the Domain Group,” Fairfax Chairman Nick Falloon said in a statement to the ASX this morning.

“We have carefully considered the indicative proposals and believe it is in the best interests of shareholders to grant both parties due diligence to explore whether a potential whole of company proposal is available.”

Both proposals are subject to various conditions including due diligence, shareholder approval, and Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

Hellman and Friedman is a global firm, founded in San Francisco in 1984 with operations in San Francisco, New York and London. It’s current and prior investments in media and digital classifieds markets include: DoubleClick, Scout24AG, Advanstar, Axel Springer, Digitas, Eller Media, Formula One, Getty Images, Internet Brands and National Radio Partners.

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