A consortium of philanthropists and media executives has emerged as a bidder for embattled national newswire Australian Associated Press.
It was announced in March that major shareholders News Corp Australia and Nine would shutter the 85-year-old news agency, saying it was no longer commercially viable.
But former Foxtel and News Corp executive Peter Tonagh, one of the consortium leads, says AAP plays a vital role in the Australian media and they believe the business could be turned around.
Other members of the consortium include Fred Woollard, managing director of Samuel Terry Asset Management, and Kylie Charlton, managing director of Australian Impact Investments.
Mr Tonagh said in a statement hundreds would lose their jobs and the media in Australia would become more concentrated if AAP was not saved.
“The investors in our consortium know it’s a tough time to invest in the Australian media, but they also know that if AAP is unable to provide a daily stream of high-quality news, then dozens more independent news outlets are likely to fail.”
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and fellow media giant Nine have been accused of closing the news agency to damage smaller competitors, such as The New Daily, which is an AAP subscriber.
Mr Tonagh said the consortium had raised a significant amount of money, but the clock was ticking.
“The more money we can raise from philanthropists, impact investors and from government, the more jobs we can save and the more diverse the Australian media will be,” he said.
Comment was being sought from AAP chairman and News Corp Australia executive Campbell Reid.