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Antony Catalano and WCI purchase more shares in Prime Media

Antony Catalano and his business partner Alexander Waislitz’s company WA Chess Investments (WCI), has again increased its stake in Prime Media Group, furthering rumours of a potential take over.

The purchase of additional shares by the pair, which own Australian Community Media (ACM) has taken the investment in the regional TV company to 22.9% up from 19.9% after the purchase from WIN Corp’s Bruce Gordon, in a deal worth $2.6 million.

In total, the deal sees WCI purchasing just under 11 million shares at a price of $0.24 each.  This is the second time this year that Catalano has increased his stake in Prime Media, following a purchase of almost 19 million shares at $0.225 each, at a total cost of $4.245 million, back in March.

Antony Catalano

Gordon’s company, Birketu’s voting power in the company, following the sale has decreased to 11.37%, from 14.37%.

Catalano was not available for comment when contacted regarding the purchase.

This latest buy sees Catalano, his wife Stefanie Catalano and Waizlitz among the those that each hold 84,219,336 shares in Prime Media. The Australian Communications and Media Authority approved Catalano’s previous purchase in April, which was required as the stake above 15% and is deemed a controlling interest under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

In 2019, Catalano upped his stake in the TV business to 14.6% in order to block a proposed merger between Prime and Kerry Stokes’ Seven. 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.

When he began in the top job in 2019, Seven’s CEO James Warburton announced the Prime Media merger, but a few months later, after Catalano’s intervention, told Mumbrella: “It would have been better for both of us, would have changed the game in terms of one buy and national reach. It would have changed the game for us, and been of benefit to both shareholders, but it didn’t get up.”

In April 2019, Catalano, the real estate entrepreneur bought ACM from Nine for around $115 million, and has since taken a controlling stake in Realestateview.com.au and announced a $100 million joint venture with the property portal, ending ACM’s relationship with Nine’s Domain, where Catalano was once CEO.

Last month, ACM launched its first trade campaign, ‘ConnectNow’ since its move to independent ownership.

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