ACMA approves ACM increased stake in Prime Media

Australian Community Media (ACM) owner, Antony Catalano, has welcomed the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) approval of its acquisition of shares in TV company Prime Media Group.

ACMA’s announcement follows ACM increasing its shareholding in Prime Media to 19.99%, issued in an announcement on 9 March 2021. The increased shareholding required ACMA approval because it lifted ACM’s interest above 15% and is deemed a controlling interest under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

However, Catalano has signalled that ACM will be requesting the Federal Government to consider updating the Broadcasting Services Act of 1992, which was drafted before the existence of the internet, social media, smartphones and subscription television streaming.

Without the legislation being updated, ACM will be required to sell its daily newspapers in Bendigo and Wagga Wagga.


Catalano said the Bendigo Advertiser and The Daily Advertiser in Wagga were integral and much-valued parts of the ACM print and digital portfolio, which has more than 150 titles around Australia, including 14 daily publications.

“We are pleased that ACMA has given the green light to our higher stake in PRT,” Catalano said. “We look forward to working collaboratively with the ACMA to ensure that ACM meets the requirements of the Act.”

ACM purchased the almost 19 million additional shares at $0.225 each, at a total cost of $4.245 million, from Bruce and Judith Gordon via J.P. Morgan Nominees Australia Pty Ltd, via WA Chess Investments – Catalano’s company with business partner Alexander Waislitz.

The deal ends a stalemate between dominant Prime Media shareholders Gordon and Kerry Stokes. In late 2019, Catalano upped his stake in the regional media business to 14.6% to block a proposed merger between Prime Media and Stokes’ Seven West Media. The merger had received the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s approval, but was ultimately voted down by 53.53% of shareholders, including Catalano and Gordon.

ACM is Australia’s largest privately owned media company.


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