Kerry Packer’s PBL has quietly revealed a
seemingly important name change for its magazine business. ACP
(Australian Consolidated Press) has now been changed to ACP Magazines
Ltd, as this web page shows. And the company has changed the email address from [email protected] to [email protected] This was introduced without warning yesterday.

The
new name for ACP is not listed in the list of controlled entities in
the 2004 annual report of PBL, so it is certainly a recent thing and
will presumably appear in the 2004-05 annual report in a few weeks time.

The home page for ACP Magazines has also changed, its second update
this year, to coincide with the name change. The colours have been
changed and the layout has been altered with the information
re-arranged.

The
use of a limited liability company rather than a proprietary company is
curious, but one media analyst says it sets up a name and structure
change that makes it easier for ACP Magazines to be separated from the
PBL parent in some way.

There is already considerable
speculation that Nine’s TV and Pay TV interests are now in a structure
that can be easily separated. If ACP Magazines were to be separated
from PBL, it could be by way of float or by a trade sale with the most
logical buyer being Hearst Magazines of the US which has joint ventures
here and in the UK with the Packer magazine group.

They are run
by Sam Chisholm and were all put under him in a re-organisation that
coincided with his taking the acting CEO role at Nine in May.

These
make it easier for PBL to sell or deal when the media laws change later
this year. ACP could be worth upwards of $3 billion and Nine and the
other television interests up to $4 billion.

Peter Fray

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