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‘It was clearly quite compelling’: Media giants speak out on $4-billion merger

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Media giants Nine and Fairfax will join forces, in one of the biggest shake-ups to the media landscape in Australian history.

Nine Entertainment has offered $2.1 billion for the merger with Fairfax Media which owns legacy newspapers the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age as well as Macquarie Media’s 2GB, 3AW, 4BC and 6PR.

If the proposed $4-billion deal goes ahead, Nine will emerge with a majority 51.1 per cent of the combined entity, with Fairfax shareholders owning the remaining 48.9 per cent.

The new joint venture will be called ‘Nine’ and will be headed up by current Nine CEO Hugh Marks.

He tells Ross Greenwood the deal is “significant”.

“Over time people have written-off Nine and written-off Fairfax.

“Both businesses have done an amazing job being in a position to be able to do something like this.”

The companies are looking to save $50-million through the merger but Mr Marks says the deal is “not about cutting costs”.

“This deal is about investing in the future and high growth.”

Fairfax Chief Executive Greg Hywood says the publisher was approached earlier this month with a “compelling” and logical proposal.

“It was clearly quite compelling, quite compelling for our shareholders, quite compelling for our people and for the potential growth of the assets.”

He says the most important aspect is the mastheads.

“That’s what people connect with. They don’t connect with a family name, they connect with the mastheads that they read every day either online or in print.

“Those mastheads are in a much better position today because of this deal.”

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