ACM’s Antony Catalano poised to buy News Corp’s regional papers

Australian Community Media (ACM) boss Antony Catalano is in talks with News Corp Australia to snap up the publisher’s portfolio of over 100 community and regional newspapers.

The deal, which Mumbrella understands has been underway for some time, could be signed off as soon as this week. It would grow ACM’s focus on regional titles and leave News Corp with a business of metro newspapers.

Catalano is interested in News Corp’s 100 regional titles

The Australian Financial Review is reporting the specific titles included in the deal are currently under discussion and could be a sticking point for the deal.

News Corp Australia’s regional titles focus largely on the Queensland market, while ACM’s stronghold is in New South Wales and Victoria. ACM’s titles include The Canberra Times, The Newcastle Herald, The Examiner and the Illawarra Mercury, while News Corp Australia’s titles range from the Geelong Advertiser, Gold Coast Bulletin, The Weekly Times and the NT News to the Wentworth Courier, Mosman Daily, North Shore Times and Manly Daily.

Discussions are currently around which of these titles would be involved in the deal. Some, including the NT News, are core parts of News Corp’s editorial strategy, while others, including the Wentworth Courier, have a strong relationship with News Corp’s REA Group. Catalano is the former CEO of Domain, REA Group’s rival.

In 2019, Catalano acquired ACM from Nine, formerly Fairfax, for $125m. He denied he was looking to recreate the success of Domain, telling Mumbrella his focus was on regional news, not replicating his real estate past.

News Corp’s regional titles were previously up for grabs, but the media giant removed them from the market following the merger of Nine and Fairfax.

Catalano has other regional investments, including a stake in Prime which he snapped up in a bid to stop Seven’s planned acquisition of the business. He has also continued to invest in real estate, joining the board with business partner Alex Waislitz.


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