Federal Court approves Nine-Fairfax merger

Staff Writer

The proposed merger between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax has cleared its final key hurdle, gaining approval from the Federal Court.

ABC News reports that the deal was approved, in spite of a last-minute attempt by a minor shareholder to derail the merger.

Former Domain CEO Antony Catalano, who owns a 1% stake in Fairfax, argued that the Fairfax board did not give shareholders an opportunity to consider a competing offer that he tabled ahead of last week’s AGM, and that it should have been postponed.

It was also argued that Fairfax shareholders were being “short-changed” by $600 million because the share price of Nine has “significantly” dropped since the deal was first proposed.

Nine CEO Hugh Marks spoke of the significance of the “scope” of the deal for the Australian media landscape.

“This remarkable merger draws together the quality, strengths, assets and reach of two of Australia’s most famous and successful brands to produce one business, which shapes as one of the largest and most diverse media organisations in the country,” said Marks.

“The scope of the opportunity is quite breathtaking. In addition to our existing television and digital businesses, Nine will include the iconic mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review and through the transaction, we will also move to 100% ownership of subscription video platform Stan.

Now that the deal has been approved, the new entity will be called ‘Nine’ and will own a 54.5% stake in Macquarie Media and its radio stations.

Earlier this week Macquarie Media chairman Russell Tate rubbished claims that Macquarie management want to get rid of controversial broadcaster Alan Jones.

He also said that no contract negotiations would take place with Jones, whose contract us up mid-way through 2019, until the Nine-Fairfax deal was finalised.

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