Sorry for a couple of late stories today. From Crikey:
Online finance journalism publisher Australian Independent Business Media is edging ever closer to sealing a takeover deal with Kim Williams’ News Limited. AIBM chairman Alan Kohler declined to comment this morning other than to say the tie-up was yet to be done and dusted. However, he confirmed one element of an Australian Financial Review gossip item reporting his presence at News’ Holt Street headquarters on Monday.
Crikey understands that the play, said to value AIBM at about $30 million, is not quite complete but there is a good prospect of a formal announcement later in the week. Investment banker John Wylie is running the negotiations for Kohler and AIBM’s other shareholders, that include himself, Mark Carnegie and the chairman of Crikey publisher Private Media, Eric Beecher.
This morning The Fin claimed Kohler would have to quit his high-profile ABC national TV gig if he became a Murdoch employee. However, for more than half of his time on the ABC Kohler was employed at Fairfax, suggesting Aunty would struggle to justify his departure. News, however, might push for Kohler to instead front a Sky News show — as it has done with most of its talent stable that once used to contribute to the national broadcaster.
This looks a more useful partnership to me than the failed Fairfax tie-up, which was only ever a monopoly play for Fairfax. BS and News share an equally extreme pro-business (as opposed to pro-markets) editorial perspective. Also, it would revive at least some competition between the now Stutchburied AFR and the ransacked business stable at The Australian. The danger might be, however, that they fight over the same pro-vested interests coverage, driving Australian business media right of Ghengis Khan.