Fairfax/Macquarie merger appears likely
Fairfax Media has released a statement this afternoon confirming that it has had discussions regarding the future of the radio division 'from time to time', however notes that 'no decision has been made to merge with Macquarie Radio'.
Macquarie Radio has released a similarly worded statement to the market. Both are shown below.
The announcements follow the story in The Australian yesterday that the two businesses are negotiating a merger which would see Fairfax roll its radio assets into the already listed Macquarie vehicle.
Should the merger eventuate it would result in the newly combined group holding 3 licenses in Sydney, requiring the divestment of one of 2GB, 2UE or 2CH.
The company would then control the leading talkback station in Sydney (2GB), Melbourne (3AW) and the underperforming 6PR Perth, 4BC Brisbane. It would also hold either 2CH or 2UE, plus 4BC, Magic, and 96FM. The Fairfax Talk Network already has an arrangement with dmg to sell onto 5AA Adelaide.
The wording of the two releases is quite specific, more for what they don't say than what they do.
Neither group has said they are 'not in discussions', rather they have said 'no decision has been made'. Given that, and the benefits of a merger for both groups, it seems that there is a deal in the wind.
See the announcements below: