Representatives of News Limited have held informal talks with Fairfax Media over a potential purchase of The Age’s print centre at Tullamarine, Mumbrella can reveal. A spokesman from News Limited denied there was a formal offer or that negotiations had begun.
The architect-designed five storey building, a Melbourne landmark located next to the airport, was Fairfax’s flagship print centre when it opened in 2003 but is due to be sold within two years.
The print centre cost $220 million, houses bespoke printing presses imported from Europe and has won a swathe of architecture awards.
According to the announcement in June this year about the planned closure of both the Tullamarine and NSW Chullora print centres, “Both sites were commissioned when almost all of Metro Media’s content was delivered through the printed newspaper. They have legacy presses with significant surplus capacity which is no longer required.”
The Age will shift its printing to Fairfax’s remaining print centre at Ballarat.
A spokesman for News Ltd denied that there was any formal intention or agreement in place. He said: “News is not having formal discussions with Fairfax about purchasing the Tullamarine prince centre.”
Mumbrella understands that any conversation is at an extremely early stage and informal only.
A deal would make potential sense. Speculation continues that the weekday editions of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age could be dropped if their move to tabloid format is not a success. But News has signalled that its strategy is to remain more heavily committed to print than Fairfax. But its Victoria plant has far less modern presses than The Age’s.
News Limited declined to comment on whether the subject was on the agenda internally. The spokesman said: “We do not discuss internal matters publicly.”
Earlier this year, talks between Fairfax and News about combining printing facilities fell through.