Fairfax Media, Nine Announce $4 Billion Merger Deal
The company will become one of Australia's biggest media players.
Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment Co have announced plans to merge.
The $4 billion deal will create one of Australia's largest media companies.
The new company will be called 'Nine' and will combine Nine's free-to-air television network, Fairfax's newspapers and digital sites as well as Domain, Stan and 9Now. Radio will continue through Macquaire Media.
Fairfax will own 49 percent of the business, leaving 51 percent to be held by Nine Entertainment. Nine Entertainment CEO Hugh Marks will become the boss of the new brand.
"Working through the detail will take a couple of months but you can be assured that there will be plenty of Fairfax Media DNA in the merged company and the Board," Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood said in a statement on Thursday.
Stan, Domain Key Motivators For Nine Merge
During a joint conference call, Nine CEO Hugh Marks and Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood have confirmed the primary motivator for the merge was the success of streaming service Stan and Domain assets.
Hywood also said quality journalism would be a cornerstone of the new business.
"There is nothing in this deal that would remotely risk the independence of our journalism," Hywood said.
When questioned about possible job losses at the hands of the merge, where job double-ups across the two companies are sure to be an issue, Mark said he was unable to provide any specific detail.
“Such a merger of two major media groups will of course result in some duplication of functions and you will read about synergies that will be pursued by the business as part of this transaction," he said.
Prime Minister Supports The Merge
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has thrown his support behind the merge saying he believes the companies uniting will make them stronger.
“To be frank, I welcome the announcement. Fairfax is a great Australian newspaper company. The Nine Network is the first television station to be on air ... I used to work for the Nine Network in the past, in my journalistic and legal past," Turnbull said on Launceston radio station 89.3LAFM on Thursday morning.
"And I think bringing them together will strengthen both of them."
The PM also wasted no time in saying that the merge wouldn't be possible without the changes to media law his government has made.
“It’s obviously been made possible by the changes in media ownership laws that we’ve made," Turnbull said.
The Prime Minister also confirmed that the ACCC will have to approve the merge to ensure it meets regulatory requirements.
Nine's Chairman, former federal treasurer Peter Costello also supports the Nine/ Fairfax merge.
"Both Nine and Fairfax have played an important role in shaping the Australian media landscape over many years," Costello said.
"The combination of our businesses and our people best positions us to deliver new opportunities and innovations for our shareholders, staff and all Australians in the years ahead."