News Corp is reported to be in talks to sell The Sunday Times to Seven West Media in a deal that would put the newspaper in the same stable as WA’s only metro daily The West Australian.
Although unconfirmed, the report appears in The Australian, which is published by News Corp. According to the article: “Although there is no guarantee of a deal being reached, talks have been going on for more than a year and have sparked up again in recent weeks.”
The West has been published since 1833 and is Australia’s second oldest newspaper, while The Sunday Times was stablished in 1890. It has been in the News Corp stable since 1955
It is unclear if the talks include the sale of Perthnow.com.au, News Corp’s digital accompaniment for The Sunday Times.
Seven West Media was formed in April 2011 when Kerry Stokes’ West Australian Newspapers Holdings acquired Seven Media Group.
Any deal would see WA media dominated by Seven West Media, which is the heartland market for the Seven Network thanks to proprietor Kerry Stokes’s links to the state.
The talks come at a time of maneuverings among media proprietors. News Corp has been attempting to mount a full takeover of Sky News, which is currently owned by Seven, Nine and the News Corp-aligned Sky Europe.
And likely changes to media ownership laws will cause a wave of consolidation among metro and regional TV networks.
According to the most recent Audit Bureau of Circulation Figures which covered July to September, The West Australian had a Monday to Friday circulation of 149,168 and The Sunday Times has a Sunday circulation of 188,480.
The rumours come two months after News Corp Australia chief executive Peter Tonagh and News Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller took over from Julian Clarke.
News Corp declined to comment.