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CEO Brendon Hill is confident the ACCC will approve Bauer’s Pacific Magazines acquisition, says there are no current plans to cull titles

Despite the potential for overlap, Bauer CEO Brendon Hill says all Pacific Magazines titles will come across to Bauer, to create one portfolio which will ‘realise significant value and help secure a more sustainable and profitable future’ for the publisher.

Speaking to Mumbrella, Hill said he doesn’t believe the agreement between Bauer Media and Pacific, which will see the German-owned publisher acquire Seven West Media’s Pacific business for $40m, will be rejected by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) because the publishers are battling against the larger digital platforms, not each other.

Hill says all Pacific titles will come across to join the Bauer Media business

“We’re working closely with [the ACCC] and can’t comment on the process specifically, but we believe the transaction will not lessen competition in any relevant market, given that magazines compete for advertising and audience against the digital players – the big multinationals including Google and Facebook,” Hill told Mumbrella.

Hill said the main focus behind the acquisition was to bring together two much-loved brands with ‘huge readerships’.

“Combining Pacific and Bauer Media, powerhouse brands which are much-loved with huge readerships, and putting them together in one portfolio, will realise significant value and help secure a way more sustainable and profitable future,” said Hill.

Hill declined to comment on future plans for the management team of the business if the Pacific acquisition is approved, saying the publisher is ‘still working through’ the new structure. Today also saw Bauer appoint News Corp Australia’s Andrew Cook as director of sales, following the departure of Paul Gardiner, current commercial director.

Cook brings almost 30 years of experience to the business, most recently as general manager of sales for The Australian and News Prestige Network. Prior to his time with News Corp, Cook was director of media sales at SBS. He has also previously held roles with ACP Magazines (now Bauer Media) and Fairfax.

Gardiner is departing the business after 15 years with Bauer in both New Zealand and Australia. He is returning to New Zealand to spend time with his family and take on a new venture.

Regarding whether any of Pacific’s titles would be culled in the move, Hill said the plan was to bring all titles across, and that there is ‘very little overlap’ between the brands, with each bringing its own readership and targeting.

In fact, there will be no changes for readers, said Hill, and he has no concerns that the change will impact readerships.

Currently, the plan is to bring the Pacific team into the Bauer Media Sydney offices, but a lot still needs to be worked out, said Hill. He also declined potential plans by Bauer to sell the newly merged business to private equity.

Should the ACCC approve the merger, Hill said the first steps would be to welcome the Pacific team to the Bauer offices and begin working on the future of the business.

“First steps would be welcoming the Pacific team into Park Street [Bauer’s Sydney offices] and getting cracking on a great new combined business, and a more sustainable future.”

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