Both Fairfax and Ten are keeping quiet about the reports after The Australian published information that indicated Fairfax was one of several Australian media companies to have been approached recently by Canadian outfit CanWest. The company holds a major shareholding in Ten and appears to be seriously considering its options to opt out of the broadcaster.
However, any changes to the laws isn’t an automatic guarantee of such a deal being authorised by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), with the regulator retaining its right to scrutinise any deal to assess if such a deal complied with the current or any revamped laws.
With the Howard government now holding a majority in the Senate, the likelihood that the long-contested changes will finally get through after July this year.
This is expected to cause a rush of acquisitions and new partnerships between disparate media operations, from both local and international media outlets. The possibility exists that companies possibly allow them to own more than one type of media asset in the same market.
News Corporation has also been linked with Ten or Seven networks, while the owner of the Nova FM stations, Britain’s DMG Radio Australia, is also rumoured to be interested in expansion. Fairfax would also be free to buy a TV network or radio station.