There’s an irony in one former regional news publisher and another still committed to the business fighting for control of a TV broadcaster, while a third with a foot still in both platforms weighs in for some of the action.
The new Capital Brief website – launched by former Fairfax publishing head Chris Janz – saw the corporate battle for Southern Cross Austereo in simple terms: Antony Catalano was at it again.
And that was before Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media joined the fray, snapping up almost a fifth of radio broadcaster ARN Media, which is also seeking control of ASX-listed Southern Cross.
Catalano (pictured) and partner Alex Waislitz have plans to merge Australian Community Media – the former Fairfax news regional business the duo bought from Nine – with SCA.
Reports suggest that the proposal followed encouragement from SCA’s advisers, but Stokes’ involvement may complicate plans. Each brings a news business to the table, with Domain founder Catalano also heavily committed to a new pitch at the real estate market.
The argument is understood to be based on the profit boost that would accrue from merging the regional newspapers – curiously excluding agricultural masthead The Land – with SCA, of which ACM would hold 20 per cent.
Promised synergies from a group with more journalists across a multimedia business with a broader appeal to advertisers are weighed against an offer from ARN Media… the business that pulled out of regional news, selling its papers to NewsCorp. There’s more to it than that, but it looks like interesting times; watch this space.