Fairfax to merge with Nine in Australia

11:53 am on 26 July 2018

Fairfax Media in Australia has announced plans to merge with Nine Entertainment.

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Photo: AFP

The merger would create an integrated media giant across television, online video streaming, print, digital and real estate advertising.

Nine will effectively be the dominant partner with more than 51 percent of the shares and its current chief executive and chairman leading the combined firm.

The companies issued a statement saying the deal was subject to approvals and working through it would take a number of months.

The combined business would include Nine's free-to-air television network and Fairfax's mastheads, digital businesses and radio interests through Macquarie Media.

Once the deal was completed, Nine shareholders would hold 51.1 per cent of the combined company, with Fairfax shareholders owning the remaining 48.9 per cent, the companies said.

Nine News Finance Editor Ross Greenwood described the move as a "takeover bid".

The combined business will be led by Nine's current chief executive officer Hugh Marks. Three current Fairfax directors will be invited to join the board of the merged company, which will be chaired by Nine chairman Peter Costello and include two further current Nine directors.

The companies say they anticipate annual cost savings of at least $A50 million, which will be implemented over the next two years.

Fairfax recently spun off its highly profitable real estate advertising business Domain into a company separately listed on the ASX, which Fairfax still owns around 60 per cent of.

It owns flagship newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Australian Financial Review.