ACCC green lights Fairfax/Macquarie merger

Staff Writer

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will not oppose the combining of the Macquarie Radio Network with Fairfax Media's radio network.

Following consultation with, and submissions  from, advertisers, agencies, listeners and other networks, the ACCC has determined that a combined business would continue to face strong competition.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims commented: “The ACCC considered the effect of the proposed transaction on the price of radio advertising, as well as the quality of news and other content provided to audiences"

“While few other commercial radio stations currently operate the same talkback format as 2UE and 2GB, other radio stations would be able to change their format and programming to include more talkback if it made commercial sense to do so”

As a result of the merger, the combined entity would move into temporary breach in Sydney; owning 2UE, 2GB and 2CH, and in Mt Isa. The merged entity has previously committed to divesting the 2CH license, and it intends to sell the complete Macquarie Regional Network in Queensland even though only Mt Isa (4LM) is required to be divested.

The ACCC also considered if the merger would affect other radio networks who presently acquire syndicated programmming or content from each company, the networks involved advised that they had no concern with a merger and that there were alternative supply sources should that be required.

The final hurdle, which appears a formality, will be for shareholder approval for the merger.


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