MRN Fairfax merger talks back on again

Fairfax Radio and Macquarie Radio Network have confirmed that are in “discussions” about a possible merger.

In two related announcements, MRN and Fairfax both informed the Stock Exchange about discussions related to a “transaction,” as required by the excahnge’s ‘continuous disclosure’ obligations. But no deal has been reached yet.

MRN’s statement to the ASX said:

A parallel statement from Fairfax Media, delivered a similar message:

Fairfax Media newspapers are reporting that the long anticipated merger may happen before Christmas.
A report in the Financial Review says a new entity may be created to facilitate the deal. “The merger…  would create an entity that would own Macquarie Radio’s 2GB – the home of top-rated Sydney shock jocks Alan Jones and Ray Hadley – and Fairfax’s top-rated Melbourne station 3AW.”

Fairfax is expected to hold the controlling interest in the merger, but Macquarie Radio Chairman Russell Tate could retain Chairmanship of the new business entity, according to the report.
The on-again off-again deal may still hit stumbling blocks, but if it completes it would add 2GB to Fairfax’s stations 2UE, 3AW, 4BC and 6PR. Nova Entertainment owns 5AA Adelaide. What would happen to 2UE and 2CH is as yet unknown. One may be sold, while the other may adopt Fairfax’s Magic brand.
Other Fairfax outlets are also reporting talk of the deal, with a Sydney Morning Herald report saying: “Fairfax Media and John Singleton’s Macquarie Radio network are days away from finalising a $200 million talkback radio merger less than a year after talks collapsed in bitter circumstances.”

The SMH report hints at a possible deal-breaker clause, saying: “The merger, which is not yet complete but is due to be signed off before Christmas, would create an entity that would own both Macquarie Radio’s 2GB, the home of top-rated Sydney shock jocks Alan Jones and Ray Hadley, and Fairfax’s top-rated Melbourne station 3AW. 2GB’s main value rests with the two star announcers and it is believed that a deal would not proceed if they were not retained within the wider group. Earlier this month Mr Jones re-signed with 2GB until 2017.”


If a deal eventuates this time around, both companies would need to make an announcement to the Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, MRN has also reported a move and upgrade of its transmission site.

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