Alex Parsons returns to Nine to manage sale of events business

Nine’s former chief digital officer, Alex Parsons, is returning to the business to manage the sale of its events arm.

In his new role, Parsons will be tasked with managing the sale of the division, which runs events such as the City2Surf and the Night Noodle Markets.

Parsons: Back at Nine

Parsons, who also previously led marketing, left the business in 2017, before joining Adcorp as CEO early last year. He is replacing Martin Jolly, who has been running Nine’s events business since 2017, when Fairfax Media acquired his Sports Media and Entertainment 360 business.

Jolly is leaving to potentially participate in bidding for the business.

The shuffle comes five months after Nine’s The Australian Financial Review first reported the events business was a division up for sale. At the time, the AFR reported the division was valued by Macquarie Equities at around $60m.

Speculation rose after Nine and the events business’ parent company, Fairfax Media, announced a merger, which was finalised in early December.

Parsons told Mumbrella he was looking forward to managing the business, ensuring it would continue to perform above expectations.

“The event business is going through a transaction process and having done some M&As [merger and acquisitions] in the past, I’ve always found that exciting and rewarding,” Parsons told Mumbrella.

“I think it’s a really strong business with a lot of potential. A strong business, in terms of its numbers, with potential, makes any business appealing,” he added.

“When you think about the market today, there’s not a lot of profitable strong businesses like that for sale.”

Parsons said Nine will pursue a commercial relationship with the various events, despite the sale of the business. And while that relationship will be more “at arm’s length”, it adds value to the buyer, according to Parsons.

“That on top of the strong commercial operating metrics of the current events business give it added value,” he said.

Parsons said his immediate focus is the sale, rather than his future with Nine beyond the transaction process. However, he did not rule out the potential for a long-term relationship with Nine once the sale was completed.

“I’ve had an incredibly journey with Nine over many years. I have many good friends and colleagues and strong relationships and I do think, I always will think that Nine is a fantastic business,” he said.

Chris Janz, Nine’s managing director of publishing, thanked Jolly for his time with the business.

“We would like to thank Martin for the hard work and commitment he has shown to the business and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” Janz said.

Nine’s event division, when under Fairfax Media, was also previously run by former Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy.


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