Fair­fax’s takes huge hit in rev­enues ahead of buy­out

The Courier-Mail - - BUSINESS - ELI GREENBLAT

FAIR­FAX Me­dia has re­ported crash­ing rev­enues across its news­pa­pers and on­line real es­tate busi­ness Do­main just months ahead of its planned buy­out by the Nine En­ter­tain­ment.

Shares in Fair­fax, Do­main and Nine all plunged yes­ter­day, wip­ing a com­bined $700 mil­lion in value from the com­pa­nies.

The slide comes as Nine works to take over Fair­fax in a move that will cre­ate a $4 bil­lion me­dia com­pany span­ning news­pa­pers, ra­dio and tele­vi­sion.

Rev­enue at Fair­fax for the fi­nan­cial year so far was 5 per cent lower than in the same pe­riod a year ago, it re­ported yes­ter­day.

Rev­enue in its flag­ship Metro Me­dia di­vi­sion, which houses key ti­tles in­clud­ing The Age, The Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald and Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Re­view, is down 1 per cent.

Fair­fax’s ru­ral me­dia opera- tions re­ported a 10 per cent rev­enue slide while sales at its New Zealand me­dia arm cratered 16 per cent.

Mac­quarie Me­dia, which is 54.5 per cent owned by Fair­fax and in­cludes 4BC in Bris­bane, 3AW in Mel­bourne and 2GB in Syd­ney, was the only busi­ness to make any mean­ing­ful sales growth, re­port­ing a 3 per cent rise.

Prop­erty list­ings group Do­main, which is 59.4 per cent owned by Fair­fax, posted a 1 per cent rev­enue slide.

Fair­fax spun off Do­main last year, keep­ing its con­trol­ling stake.

Citi an­a­lyst David Kaynes said the slide in rev­enue at Do­main was an un­wel­come sur­prise.

“We are sur­prised by the mag­ni­tude of the rev­enue de­te­ri­o­ra­tion,’’ he said in a re­port for in­vestors.

Shares in Fair­fax tum­bled 13.6 per cent yes­ter­day to 67¢.

Do­main shares lurched 13.4 per cent lower to $2.77 while Nine fell 12.4 per cent to $1.84.

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