More shuffling of the deck chairs on the good ship Titanic that is the Australian print industry, with the oldest deal on the table — the takeover of News Corp’s sliding Sunday Times in Perth by Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media — reportedly moving closer. The Australian Financial Review reported this morning that an end was “in sight” for the deal, which would also result in the associated website, Perth Now, being taken over by Seven West, which already controls the West Australian and the Seven TV network and dominates media in the state. “It is understood the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has already been approached for its views on the transaction, and sources close to the competition watchdog say a deal should be done before the end of the month,” the AFR reported this morning. The West Australian’s website is a tie-up with Yahoo, while Perth Now has a snappy name and good brand recognition — one Perth media insider speculated it would be an attractive part of any offer when Crikey gauged attitudes towards the tip-up in March.
Seven West Media shares slid earlier this month (falling from a recent high of $1.12 a share to a low of $1.03 on Monday of this week). But they have since bounced and yesterday jumped 5 cents, or more than 4%, to $110, so obviously the deal has been done and the impact on Seven West won’t be as large as feared earlier this month. The other deal to watch is whether News Corp pays the $65 million for the regional newspaper business of associate APN News and Media. News Corp owns 14.9% of APN, and its boss, Michael Miller, is a former CEO of APN.