Crikey understands that News Limited is in secret negotiations to buy the Adelaide Review, just about the only newspaper it doesn’t already own in the city where it all started for Rupert Murdoch.

The Review,
a fortnightly freebie that covers the city’s politics and arts, is
owned by Spanish media mogul Javier Moll, who bought it from Adelaide
gadfly and Murdoch columnist Christopher Pearson a couple of years ago.

Crikey understands that the Review is in severe loss-making mode, following a series of revamps that have not gone down well with advertisers. Review’s CEO Nick Samaris laughed openly when Crikey put the news to him today, replying that “the Adelaide Review is not for sale.”

But
this would not be just another mini media transaction. It involves two
moguls – one who controls almost all of Adelaide’s newspapers (The Advertiser, Sunday Mail and the Messenger
suburban chain), and another whose stated aim is to launch new daily
newspapers in the smaller Australian capital cities like Adelaide and
Brisbane.

So why would Moll give up his only Australian newspaper beach-head if
he wants to expand? And what would the ACCC think of News Limited
increasing its presence in a market where it owns all the papers except
the small fledgling Sunday Independent? What kind of deal is being discussed? And where will it leave media diversity in a city which has almost none?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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