But simply how shut they got here to agreeing a tie-up has not likely been revealed. The 2 firms had been in superior talks over a merger that might have been simply as historic however modified the Australian media panorama in numerous methods.
Underneath the association, Seven Group Holdings (the diversified guardian firm of the TV broadcaster Seven West Media) would have retained a stake of about 15 per cent within the mixed firm, down from 40 per cent at present.
Seven was being suggested by UBS and its star banker Matt Grounds, Fairfax by Macquarie (which suggested it on the 9 deal).
Seven West Media was linked with Information Corp earlier this 12 months, now trade rumours have linked it once more with different US media firms. Even when they do not change into true, it does present how a lot consideration is on the corporate.
The talks with Fairfax fell aside, with issues from the writer’s facet about Seven’s debt load and its paucity of digital property. 9’s share value then took off, enabling it to pursue a scrip heavy bid for Fairfax, and the remainder is historical past.
Sources say after Fairfax talks collapsed, Seven (Stokes) and its advisers explored promoting the media enterprise to potential patrons within the US – with NBC, owned by Comcast, talked about as one identify that was focused.
And it was identify talked about once more this week. Comcast, its guardian firm is within the means of increasing internationally, outbid majority shareholder Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox for UK pay TV enterprise Sky.
Whether or not it could actually be keen on persevering with that growth all the way in which to Australia is unclear. However the media trade loves a hearsay.
Ryan Stokes is described by sources as a dispassionate dealer of property, with no emotional attachment to media. His father sees the world otherwise, but additionally loves a deal.
For the file, Seven declined to touch upon hypothesis. Properly-placed sources at Seven mentioned they weren’t conscious of any curiosity. And Comcast could not be reached for remark.
Nonetheless, Seven’s predicament and talks with Fairfax are attention-grabbing given analysts and a few shareholders at the moment are brazenly questioning whether or not the Fairfax and 9 deal will recover from the road, following sharp falls within the 9 share value.
Citi analyst David Kaynes mentioned in a notice this week that the “profit to Fairfax shareholders of voting in favour of the merger is much less apparent, and we’re now not assured that this may proceed beneath the present agreed phrases”.
“Should you conform to a deal that pays you lower than what you suppose [a company’s] value it would not make sense,” he later instructed this web site.
For his half, 9’s chief govt Hugh Marks stays assured and upbeat.
He instructed advertisers and media patrons on the annual Upfront occasion on Wednesday night that the “mixed 9-Fairfax group will present a scale and unparalleled breadth of platforms throughout tv, radio, digital and print media”.
“Delivering content material that will likely be recognised for its variety, high quality and recognition that certainly one media firm can serve plenty of audiences,” Mr Marks mentioned.
“That means we will construct extra highly effective content material partnerships, co-ordinated throughout all platforms.”
John McDuling writes about enterprise, know-how and the financial system. Beforehand he was a reporter for Quartz in New York, lined telecommunications and markets for the Monetary Evaluation, and labored within the finance trade.
Jennifer Duke writes about media and telecommunications.