The Federal Court of Australia has approved the upcoming merger between Nine and Fairfax, clearing the final hurdle after Fairfax shareholders and the ACCC gave the deal the green light earlier this month.
Former Domain CEO Antony Catalano had tried to stop the deal from going ahead with his legal team claiming Fairfax did not allow enough time for the shareholders to accept his offer last week during the AGM.
Catalano offered to by 20 per cent of Fairfax and sell off non-core assets, the night before the shareholders meeting.
His legal team also noted the shareholders were being “short changed” by $600 million as the share price of Nine has dropped since the announcement of the merger in July. It is possible Catalano will appeal today’s decision.
Earlier this month, the ACCC gave the go ahead for the merger saying “it does not substantially lessen competition”.
Last week, over 81 per cent of Fairfax shareholders approved the merger of the two media companies.
Fairfax expects to lodge a copy of the order of the court with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission tomorrow, November 28.
The scheme will be implemented from December 7. The first day of operation as the new entity, named Nine, will be on December 10.
Hugh Marks, CEO at Nine said, “This deal is all about our strategy for the future together and it promises exciting opportunities for our employees, our clients and our audiences.
“Together we will provide our audiences with the best of entertainment and quality journalism on the platform they choose. As one company.”
After the deal closes, Nine shareholders will own 51.1 per cent of the combined entity, with Fairfax shareholders owning the remaining 48.9 per cent.
The name Fairfax will no longer exist after being a major part of the Australian media landscape for 177 years.
The merged entity will consist of the Nine Network, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The AFR, a majority stake in Domain, streaming platform Stan and a 54.5 per cent stake in radio network Macquarie Media.