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AAP sale finalised as consortium of investors becomes newswire’s new owner

A consortium of investors and philanthropists, fronted by former News Corp executive Peter Tonagh, has officially taken over Australian Associated Press (AAP).

The sale ends 85 years of major publishing groups, led by News Corp and Nine, owning the Keith Murdoch-founded newswire.

The sale was an essential act of resuscitation for AAP, which was otherwise going to come to the end of its life in June.

AAP lives another day 

The AAP name and branding will carry across to the new iteration of the newswire, which will continue to report breaking news.

While 180 journalists were previously employed by the business, approximately 100 redundancies were made to ensure the new AAP is viable, particularly without the support of former majority owner News Corp, which has since set up its own internal newswire service. News Corp had a 45% stake in the business and reportedly paid around $10m for its services, while Nine paid a reported $5m annually.

One of the exits was editor in chief Tony Gillies, who left the business at the end of July, just before the sale was finalised.

New chief executive Emma Cowdroy said the finalisation of the transaction means AAP will continue in its important work.

“The successful sale has ensured that AAP has not only survived but that it now has the opportunity to thrive,” she said.

“Our backers and the board are united in our determination to continue AAP’s critical role as the source of truly independent news for all Australians. The value of independent journalism for the benefit of our society has never been more important and the new-look AAP will be underpinned by this philosophy.”

Outgoing CEO Bruce Davidson, who was in the role for a decade, added: “The legacy of the news agency is in good hands and I’m delighted that the spirit of AAP will live on into the future.”

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