Here’s how Crikey sees the frenzy at lunchtime today (for reports in full, see the edition below):

  • The carve-up of John Fairfax, Australia’s oldest and most venerable media company, is now underway. And in all the speculation about who might buy which Fairfax assets, don’t discount this: Rupert Murdoch would love to cap his extraordinary career by owning The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald — and this would be no problem if he flipped the Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph into the new PBL Media vehicle.
  • The dollar value of the “gift” to media owners flowing from the federal government’s new media laws is almost $4.2 billion, based on a detailed assessment provided to Crikey by media analysts today.
  • As the current ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel laughably insists that his Commission will preserve editorial and media diversity, his predecessor Allan Fels disagrees, arguing that there is nothing in the “grab” for consumers and in fact, retrospective legislation might be needed to protect media diversity.
  • The imminent break-up of Fairfax could be the death blow to independent business and financial journalism in Australia if the Financial Review – Australia’s major source of independent business coverage – falls under the control of the Packer of Murdoch organisations, as is likely.
  • Despite the Prime Minister saying yesterday that “a certain concentration is needed in a nation of 20 million people because we can’t sustain an unlimited number of (media) players for economic reasons”, Australia’s main media companies made a total net profit of around $1.6 billion last year — quite an impoverished group.

Apart from that, not much happening. Have a diversified weekend.