Fairfax-Macquarie Radio merger on hold as ACCC steps in

ALan JonesThe consumer watchdog has opened an informal investigation into the proposed merger between the two biggest talkback radio groups in the country, Fairfax Radio and Macquarie Radio.

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission is seeking submissions from interested parties on the proposed deal, with a decision due by March 5.

A merger would bring together the dominant stations in the Sydney and Melbourne markets, with Macquarie’s 2GB boasting the likes of Alan Jones and Ray Hadley and Fairfax’s 3AW with Tom Elliott and Peter and Kate all dominant in their respective timeslots. 

However the two companies have already started to share resources with Alan Jones set to broadcast to Brisbane on Fairfax’s 4BC during the Queensland state elections.

Shares in Fairfax Media, which had risen as to 90c in the days after the deal was announced on December 23, have fallen back to the 84c mark they were at on that day.

Fairfax has been acquiring businesses in the past few months, taking the final 50 per cent stake in Metro Media it did not own earlier this month, and partnering with Nine Entertainment Co on a video streaming joint venture called Stan.

The ACCC is calling for submissions before February 3, and is due to rule on the merger plans by March 5.


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