Seven Network is apparently eyeing APN News and Media, now that it has $1.2 billion in spare change to expand into radio and outdoor advertising.

Kerry Stokes‘s TV network has been working with Macquarie Group investment bankers seeking to put together a consortium that could purchase the company. The pair had been approaching other possible bidders who would take on APN’s newspapers in Australia and New Zealand.

“We can only note that Seven… has no debt, $1.2 billion in the bank and patience on its side in any equation thats considered on media in Australia,” a Seven spokesman says.

Analysts are speculating that APN would struggle to find a buyer willing to meet that price in the face of the credit crunch and the Irish company’s unclear profit outlook is not going to help it.

APN’s chief executive, Brendan Hopkins, has stood aside from Independent’s board. West Australian Newspapers, whose biggest shareholder is Seven, is seen as possible buyer of APN’s newspaper assets.

Lachlan Murdoch has been looking at possibly having a go at getting APN, and Fairfax Media is also interested.

Let the bidding begin!