In 2017 the Federal Government published the new changes of media ownership laws. This update included the dismissal of relevant provisions, such as the “75% audience reach”, the “two-from-three” rule and the replace of license fees for a “spectrum fee”, which opened the doors for communication companies.
At the time, the bank Morgan Stanley released a prediction of the most likely merges that could occur and Fairfax and Nine were pointed as the most plausible and powerful opportunity. According to the bank, the combination of Nine Entertainment’s video contents and Fairfax’s video capability would increase traffic and audience, and increase competition against Facebook and Google in the ad market, which has had a loss of $1Bi for Australian TV in 2016.
Today Fairfax and Nine announced the plans to merge on a $4Bi deal, becoming the largest integrated media player in Australia. The new giant will include:
- Nine’s free-to-air TV network
- The Sydney Morning Herald
- The Age
- 9 Now
- Fairfax’s radio – through Macquarie Media
The combined company will be run by Nine CEO Hugh Marks and Nine chairman Peter Costello will remain chairman. The board of directors of the new company will be composed by directors from both current Nine and Fairfax. It is expected that the merge brings $50M in cost savings within the next 2 years plus a compelling value for shareholders.