The merged Nine and Fairfax deal is 'all about what the media will be in the future'

Boom. Picture: John Gay/US Navy
  • The merged Nine and Fairfax business will concentrate on growing its digital assets
  • “This is all about what the media will be in the future,” says Hugh Marks who will be the CEO of merged Nine.
  • Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood wouldn’t answer questions about his future.

Hugh Marks, who will head the merged Nine and Fairfax media businesses, plans to accelerate growth in digital businesses.

The current CEO of free-to-air network Nine says both companies have successfully innovated, adapted and changed business models to reflect what audiences are doing and what the market is doing.

“It’s that landscape I think which adds context to this deal,” he told a a briefing of analysts.

“We all know media is changing. It’s inevitable and it’s constant.

“This deal isn’t about where the media has been. This is all about what the media will be in the future.”

He called out the digital business, including online real estate classified site Domain and streaming media player Stan, which will now be 100% owned by the merged entity.

“This is a very exciting day for us all,” says Marks.

“It underpins a great business that will take forward the future of media.

“We will have a very large component of our revenue and earnings base going forward which will be high growth, digital orientated, media businesses and we will be intending to accelerate down that path.

“The advantage we have is having great access to quality people to do quality work, in creating that great content that is so important to the business of the future.”

Marks says Nine has a long tradition of creating quality news and the board of Nine is more than happy to adopt the principles of the Fairfax charter.

“This is a great combination of cultures,” he says.

Greg Hywood, the current CEO of Fairfax, says no-one should underestimate the combination of Fairfax and Nine’s proven brand building capabilities.

“Maximising growth opportunities is at the core of this deal,” Hywood says.

Hywood, who was appointed CEO of Fairfax more than eight years ago, appears to have no role at the merged business.

He has switched Fairfax from a print-focused business to a digital model as newspaper advertising fell $300 million per year between 2012 and 2018.

He floated Domain, the high growth online real estate classifieds business, last year.

However, today he didn’t directly answer when questioned about his future.

“It’s really about the business and about the future and what’s best for the business,” he replied.

“Social issues have had nothing to do with the transaction. It’s really been about what’s good for the business and our shareholders.

“When Nine came forward with this proposal there was no doubt from anyone sitting around the table, including myself, that it was well worth progressing.

“I am personally very, very pleased at this outcome.”

Disclosure: Business Insider is published by Allure Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax Media.

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