Fair­fax farewell date named

Herald Sun - - BUSINESS - ELI GREENBLAT ME­DIA with AAP

AF­TER 177 years, Fair­fax Me­dia will next month cease to ex­ist as an in­de­pen­dent com­pany when broad­caster Nine En­ter­tain­ment buys the group out un­der terms an­nounced last night.

Nine and Fair­fax late yes­ter­day pub­lished a scheme book­let re­veal­ing ex­tra de­tails about the deal they struck in July.

If share­hold­ers and reg­u­la­tors, in­clud­ing the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion, back the buy­out, Fair­fax will be pulled off the Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties Ex­change at the close of trade on Novem­ber 28.

The rev­e­la­tion came af­ter Fair­fax yes­ter­day re­ported a fall in rev­enues across its news­pa­pers and on­line real es­tate busi­ness Do­main. Shares in Fair­fax, Do­main and Nine all plunged, wip­ing a com­bined $700 mil­lion off their com­bined value.

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

Rev­enue in its flag­ship Metro Me­dia di­vi­sion, which houses key ti­tles in­clud­ing The Age, The Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald and the 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 3AW in Mel­bourne, was the only busi­ness to make any mean­ing­ful sales growth, re­port­ing a 3 per cent rise. 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.

De­spite boast­ing crowd pleasers such as The Block, Nine said its ad rev­enue in metropoli­tan free-to-air TV was “broadly flat” the past quar­ter, and the mar­ket had been “slightly softer than ex­pected”.

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

The Block con­tes­tants and for­mer na­tional net­ballers Bianca Chat­field and Carla Dzi­woki.

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