Nine Entertainment Co and regional network WIN have reportedly entered exploratory merger discussions as they continue negotiations over their affiliation agreement.
According to a report in Fairfax media the proposal for the merger has come from WIN, which is currently at the pointy end of negotiations with Nine about continuing to carry its content. Nine is pushing for a hike in fees while WIN is crying poor and arguing it can not afford the price hike.
Talks between Nine and WIN would come just weeks after Nine and Southern Cross Austereo were forced to dampen media speculation about a potential merger between the two parties.
Many media players expect new Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to tackle media reforms including the reach rule, which currently prevents a merger between Nine and SCA or WIN, as part of a package which will be taken to cabinet and then parliament.
Discussions between Nine and WIN are understood to have increasingly stalled with the parties struggling to find common ground for compromise.
The negotiations are further complicated by the fact that WIN owner Bruce Gordon is now Nine’s biggest shareholder, having upped his stake, back in October, ahead of the talks.
Gordon, who owns major stakes in both Nine and Ten, is thought to be positioning to ensure no merger at either network goes ahead without his involvement.
Nine declined to comment while comment is being sought from WIN.
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