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Australian court approves media merger between Nine, Fairfax

November 27, 2018

SYDNEY (AP) — A court on Tuesday dismissed a last-ditch challenge and approved the merger of television network Nine Entertainment with newspaper publisher Fairfax Media into an Australian media giant to be known only as Nine.

Fairfax shareholders voted for the merger last week. But major shareholder Antony Catalano argued in his Federal Court challenge that the Fairfax shareholders had not been allowed to consider his proposal to acquire 19.9 percent of the company’s shares, which would have scuttled the Nine merger.

Justice Jacqueline Gleeson approved the Nine-Fairfax deal on Tuesday.

The new entity will begin trading on the Australian share market on Dec. 10.

Antony Catalano, a former chief executive of the online real estate listings portal Domain Group which is majority-owned by Fairfax, launched the court challenge after Fairfax shareholders voted for the merger last week.

The Fairfax board had argued Catalano’s offer was not worth consideration, as it did not constitute a superior proposal.

The merger gives Nine shareholders 51.1 percent of the combined entity and makes Nine chief executive Hugh Marks leader of the new company.

Fairfax shareholders will own the remaining 48.9 percent of the company, which will become Australia’s largest media player. The Fairfax family name which has been part of the Australian media landscape for 177 years appears set to disappear.

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