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Channel Nine-Fairfax merger moves one step closer

Wed, Nov 21, 1:45pm by Staff Writer

The merger between Nine television and Fairfax Media is one step closer to being completed after shareholders gave the move the green light on Monday.

The Packer-owned Nine Network is set for an unusual union with Australia’s oldest newspaper publisher that will see the likes of A Current Affair be under the same umbrella as The Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Packer’s net worth was most recently assessed as A$5.5 billion according to the Financial Review Rich List. His investments include Consolidated Holdings Limited and Crown Resorts. He is the former executive chairman of Crown Resorts, which operates hotels and casinos.

The deal requires the approval of the Federal Court next Tuesday before it can be officially sealed, according to the Australian newspaper.

Former Domain boss weighs in

There remains conjecture about the validity of the deal; with former Domain boss Anthony Catalano lobbying that the deal did not apply a sufficient premium for control of Fairfax’s majority-owned Domain.

More than A$740 million in value has been lost since the planned merger that was announced in July according to Catalano.

Domain or the Domain Group is an Australian digital property portal and real estate industry business.

The company was founded by Fairfax Media and began its first established online presence in 1999, in conjunction with nationwide print media.

It is best known for its real estate portal domain.com.au, which is Australia’s second largest real estate marketing business with 90 per cent penetration.

The Domain Group is a platinum partner of Australia’s Men’s Cricket Team for the next four years after a deal was struck in June 2018. It includes their sponsorship of the next Ashes Tour to be held in Australia. They are also the official real estate partners of Cricket Australia.

Merger brings optimism to Nine and Fairfax

Former Packer empire chief executive Nick Falloon oversaw the A$4 billion shareholder vote and broached the subject of Catalano’s letter that he received Sunday night.

The letter raised the option of increasing Catalano’s stake from 1.2 per cent to 19.9 per cent in Fairfax.

Falloon went on to say that, “the letter does not constitute a superior proposal under the scheme implementation agreement between Fairfax and Nine, and therefore the Fairfax board is unable to consider it in any event.”

81.49 per cent of Fairfax shareholders backed the deal, with the merger needing the majority of Fairfax shareholders to vote in favour of the deal for it to get over the line, with at least 75 per cent of total votes cast.

Chief executive of the Nine Network Hugh Marks will lead the enlarged company and said after the vote that, “a lot of shareholders understand the merits of the merger.”

Mr Marks sent a note out to Nine staff stating that the vote was, “great news and a sign of confidence in the opportunities this merger presents.”

The merger will bring Nine’s free-to-air television network together with Fairfax’s Australian and New Zealand mastheads including The Age, The Australian Financial Review and The Sydney Morning Herald.

It also includes Fairfax’s 54.5 per cent stake in radio network Macquarie Media and a 60 per cent stake in property company Domain.


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