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Fairfax and Macquarie radio merger to complete by end of month as shareholders vote in favour

Tate

Tate

The merger of the Fairfax and Macquarie Radio Network assets should be completed by next Tuesday after shareholders gave the deal the green light at Macquarie meeting this morning.

The deal, which has been approved by two separate regulators, will see Macquarie pay Fairfax around $18m with Fairfax holding 54.5 per cent of the new entity and Macquarie the remaining 45.5 per cent. It will still be called Macquarie radio Network.

Described by Macquarie chairman Russell Tate as a “merger of equals” the deal will see Australia’s biggest talkback stations, Fairfax’s 3AW in Melbourne and Macquarie’s 2GB in Sydney, brought into the same entity called Macquarie Radio Network.

In his address to the extraordinary general meeting this morning Tate said the move would bring together “the greatest mix of talkback talent ever assembled in a single radio network” adding it will unlock cost savings across operations

Macquarie is majority owned by the Carnegie family and former adman John Singleton, who will remain stakeholders in the new entity.

Tate will lead the new operation as executive chairman for the first 12 months with Fairfax’s managing director Adam Lang becoming chief operating officer, with Tate, Jack Singleton, Fairfax Media’s CEO Greg Hywood and director James Millar and one other member to be appointed making up the board.

2GB is home to presenters including Alan Jones and Ray Hadley, whilst 3AW boasts popular names such as Tom Elliott, Neil Mitchell and Ross Stevenson and John Burns.

Other stations which will fall under the group include Fairfax’s talkback stations Perth’s 6PR, 4BC in Brisbane, as well as the Magic music stations in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Macquarie is still looking to sell off Sydney station 2CH as part of the deal as it cannot hold three broadcasting licenses in the same region.

Alex Hayes

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