13 Sep 2010

Buyout of Fiji Times by rival newspaper still possible

7:52 pm on 13 September 2010

The way appears to still be open for a Fiji Sun buyout of the Fiji Times.

That's despite reports Fiji's Commerce Commission says such a monopoly of the print media would be against the law.

Sally Round reports.

"The Fiji Times is owned by News Limited ... the Australian arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. But it's facing a change in ownership under the Fiji military regime's recent decree ruling that all media must be 90 per cent locally owned. The Fiji Sun's Chief Executive Officer Peter Lomas has met with the Commerce Commission over a potential buyout of the Times. The commission's chairman, Dr Mahendra Reddy, told him he's strongly opposed to any monopoly but that if there's no other buyer, and the Times is at risk of closing, then the commission would reconsider. Mr Lomas says under Sun ownership, the two papers would operate as separate entities targetting different readership markets. Meanwhile News Limited says the sale process for the Fiji Times is well advanced and denies reports its rival has offered to buy the paper. Fiji's diversified Motibhai Group of companies had earlier been tipped by Fiji media as a frontrunner among interested purchasers of the Fiji Times."