Nine Entertainment has struck a deal to take full control of the Macquarie Media radio network, which it inherited a majority stake in after taking over Fairfax Media last year.
The $113.9 million deal for the remaining 45.5 per cent stake of Macquarie will see highly paid shock jock presenters — including Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, Steve Price and Neil Mitchell — transfer to Nine’s books.
The acquisition, to be funded from Nine’s cash reserves and existing debt facilities, will see flagship talk stations in the major capital cities — 2GB, 3AW, 4BC, 6PR — and Macquarie Sports Radio (formerly 2UE) fully owned and controlled by Nine.
Sydney businessman John Singleton, who owns 32.4 per cent of Macquarie, agreed at a meeting of the Macquarie Media board yesterday to sell his stake for $1.46 a share. Investment banker Mark Carnegie would also sell his 3.6 per cent stake.
Macquarie’s directors have also recommended the deal.
Nine Entertainment chief executive Hugh Marks announced the deal to Nine staff this morning and said it would “drive leadership in the news space nationally”.
“We are big believers in the power of Macquarie’s talk radio network and in its people — a team who together drive debate and speak up so often for so many Australians.
“The acquisition of Macquarie Media consolidates Nine’s position as a supplier of news and current affairs content across all of our key platforms — television, digital, print and now radio.”
In a statement to the stock exchange, Mr Marks said the deal would see $10 million in cost synergies from combining support and administrative functions.
This would include taking out corporate costs, such as ASX listing fees, and other administrative costs that will disappear.
Nine already owns 54.5 per cent of Macquarie Media after its takeover of Fairfax Media, which also gave it full ownership of the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Australian Financial Review.
Last week, Macquarie Media posted a 33 per cent drop in underlying net profit after tax to $14.4 million over the past financial year, a result described by Macquarie chief executive Adam Lang as “disappointing”.