SYDNEY – The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced on Thursday that it “will not oppose” the proposal to merge Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media.
“While the merger between these two big-name media players raised a number of extremely complex issues, and will likely reduce competition, we concluded that the proposed merger was not likely to substantially lessen competition in any market in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act,” said Rod Sims, the president of the ACCC.
In a statement, the regulator said it believed that the merger proposed in July will reduce the number of large companies focusing on the creation and distribution of Australian news from five to four: the private networks Nine-Fairfax, News/Sky, Seven West Media and the public broadcasters ABC/SBS.
“By most measures, a combined Nine-Fairfax will likely become one of the largest online providers of Australian news, alongside News Corp Australia and ahead of the ABC,” Sims said in the brief.
Nine is one of the most popular free-to-air television networks in Australia. It also has a 50% stake in Stan, a video streamer, and has online publications.
The Fairfax media group consists of the renowned newspapers The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review.Fairfax also has a 54.5% share in the Macquarie radio station, 47% in the Australian Associated Press news agency and, like Nine, a 50% stake in Stan.