More Australian Media Buying Fever: Southern Cross Admits Talks, News Corp. Buys Stake In Fairfax
October 19, 2006 at 4:25 PM (PT)
SOUTHERN CROSS, the Australian radio group, said THURSDAY that it has launched preliminary talks with other companies as a prelude to a possible sale of a stake in the company, while RUPERT MURDOCH's NEWS CORP. has purchased a 7.5% stake in Australian newspaper rival FAIRFAX as media consolidation action continues in the wake of this week's approval of new media-ownership rules by Parliament.
SOUTHERN CROSS owns 2UE/SYDNEY, 3AW and MAGIC 1278/MELBOURNE, 4BC and 4BH/BRISBANE, and 6PR and 96FM/PERTH, plus TV stations in several markets, and several other stations across AUSTRALIA. It issued a release stating that it "has commenced such discussions (about a possible sale), but none have progressed beyond the exploratory stage." The company said it was making a statement because the AUSTRALIAN STOCK EXCHANGE had insisted it say something about the rampant speculation that it, along with radio operator AUSTEREO and newspaper publisher FAIRFAX, are prime targets for takeover.
NEWS CORP. paid about A$364 million (A$5.20/share) for the stake in FAIRFAX, which publishes the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD and MELBOURNE AGE; NEWS CORP., which bought the shares through JB WARE GOLDMAN SACHS, owns THE AUSTRALIAN and several regional papers like the DAILY TELEGRAPH, the BRISBANE COURIER MAIL, and the MELBOURNE HERALD SUN, as well as FOX, MYSPACE, and the NEW YORK POST in the U.S. and THE SUN, NEWS OF THE WORLD, and SKY satellite TV in the U.K.