Nine Entertainment to take over Fairfax media in estimated A$4BN deal

Nine EntertainmentAustralia’s Nine Entertainment is to take over Fairfax Media, for an estimated A$4 billion. The television network will take a controlling 51.1% stake in the newly merged company, which will be renamed NEC, or Nine Entertainment Company. Nine will acquire all of Fairfax’s shares and take a controlling 51.1% share in the new business, which will be called NEC. Under the terms of the proposed transaction, Fairfax shareholders will receive 0.3627 Nine shares for each Fairfax share held and $0.025 cash. It represents a 21.9% premium to Fairfax’s closing share price of 77c on 25 July 2018.

Hugh Marks of Nine will be the new chief executive and Peter Costello, the Nine chairman, will now lead the board of the new business.

Costello said, “Both Nine and Fairfax have played an important role in shaping the Australian media landscape over many years. The combination of our businesses and our people best positions us to deliver new opportunities and innovations for our shareholders, staff, and all Australians in the years ahead.”

Marks added, “The ground-breaking merger – harnessing the strength, assets, quality and reach of two of the country’s most famous industry brands – is another highly significant step in the evolution of Nine’s business into one of the most powerful media organisations in the country. The scope of this deal is genuinely quite breathtaking. In addition to our existing television and digital businesses, the new NEC will also become the proprietor of the iconic Fairfax mastheads as well as the new majority owner of Domain (60%) and the Macquarie Radio Network (54.5%)“.

Fairfax Chief Executive Officer Greg Hywood said, “The proposed transaction for Fairfax reflects the success of Fairfax’s transformation strategy which has created value for shareholders through targeted investment in high growth businesses, such as Domain and Stan, and prudent management of our media assets. The combination with Nine provides an exciting opportunity to continue to drive incremental value well into the future. We are confident that the strength of the combined management team and staff will ensure the continuation of our quality journalism.”

Australia, Sydney

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Bauer Media acquires three homes titles from News Corp

Bauer Media GroupThe Bauer Media Group has acquired magazines Inside Out and Country Style and Homes website HomeLife.com.au from News Corp. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The titles join Bauer’s existing suite of Homes magazines, which are Real Living, Australian House and Garden and Belle. These offerings are complemented by the publisher’s Homes to Love digital platform for this category.

The general manager for publishing at Bauer Media, Fiorella Di Santo, said, “We’re thrilled to bring Inside Out, Country Style and HomeLife.com.au to Bauer. Although we already have a strong position in the Homes category, this acquisition is a natural fit for us in terms of further deepening our category specialisation. We will now be part of the entire customer Homes journey, no matter what budget, geographical area or aesthetic.

Bauer CEO Paul Dykzeul said, “We are extremely pleased to announce this news as it’s a key milestone in delivering against our core strategic priorities, our strategic business growth and our commitment to invest in deep category specialisation. It is the first acquisition for Bauer in Australia since we bought beautyheaven in 2015, and it signifies our position of leadership as subject matter experts in this category.”

Germany, Hamburg & USA, New York, NY

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Nextmedia acquires The Women’s Game website

NextmediaThe Australian publishing company Nextmedia, part of the Forum Media Group, has acquired the female sports coverage website The Women’s Game. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Originally, the site was largely focused on football, but after its relaunch on 1 February 2018, will cover Australian women’s sport across multiple disciplines including football, netball, cricket, AFL and rugby. The target market for The Women’s Game is active players and young athletes who are looking to participate in the professional leagues of women’s sports. It was started by legal professional and football fan Ann Odong in 2008, when she found there was lack of coverage in mainstream media about the W-League and Matildas.

Kevin Airs, digital head of sports at Nextmedia, said, “There has been a huge rise in the professionalisation of women’s team sport, which has corresponded with an equal increase in the standard played, generating far more interest among fans and inspiring more people to get involved themselves. We want to be a part of that and be part of raising the profile of women’s sport, as well as the standard of reporting it.”

Australia, St Leonard’s, NSW & Brisbane, QL

Tribal Group acquires Callista Software Services 

tribalTribal Group plc, a provider of software and services for education management, has acquired Callista Software Services Pty Ltd, a provider of student management systems to the Australian university market for AUD 3.4 million.

Callista, which is based in Geelong and Melbourne, Australia, provides its software to a quarter of all Australian universities.   Its unaudited revenue  for the year ended 31 December 2014 was AUD 15.9 million, and operating profit was AUD 1.6 million.   The value of gross assets at 31 December 2014 was AUD 14.1 million.  Tribal will pay a total consideration of AUD 3.6 million in cash in equal instalments over a three year period.

Keith Evans, Chief Executive of Tribal, commented: “This transaction continues Tribal’s development in Australia, and allows us swiftly to offer our proven university software capabilities to an increased number of new customers across Australia.  Following our acquisition of Sky Software and Human Edge in 2014, and our recently announced contract wins in Queensland and Tasmania, Tribal is now a leading student management software provider to each of the university, college and schools markets in Australia.

UK, Bristol & Australia, Geelong, Victoria

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Bglobal sells Utilisoft Australia to Hansen Corporation

bglobalSmart energy solutions and services business Bglobal plc has sold its Australian subsidiary, Utilisoft Pty Ltd (“Utilisoft Australia”), to Hansen Corporation Pty Ltd for a cash consideration of AUD$3.5 million (£2.36 million). Utilisoft Australia provides data management, software and process solutions to customers in the Australian energy market.  Hansen is an independent provider of billing, customer care and IT solutions to the telecommunications, electricity, gas and water industries.

In the year ending 31 March 2012, Utilisoft Australia achieved revenue of £2.38 million, operating profit of £0.36 million and profit before taxation of £0.39 million.  The net assets of Utilisoft Australia at 31 March 2012 were £0.40 million.

The sale of Utilisoft Australia will allow the Board to focus on its remaining UK operating businesses and continue to develop its “meter to cash” smart meter services platform.  During 2012, investment has been made in establishing Bsmart Energy Solutions, a company that is focused on delivering end to end energy services to the SME market and Nutech Training Limited, a company that provides dual fuel smart meter installation training. Both of these subsidiaries are now generating revenues for the Group. The cash proceeds of the sale will be used to invest in the further development of products and services, especially in the further development and testing of a PAYG integrated software solution for which the Group has received strong interest.

The Group now has a strengthened balance sheet, cash in the bank of approximately £3.4 million and the Board has confidence that further progress will be made during the current calendar year to capitalise on the opportunities that the Group is currently pursuing.

Tim Jackson-Smith, CEO, commented: “The sale of our Australian subsidiary strengthens the Group’s balance sheet and provides us with the resources to accelerate the development and field testing of our PAYG solution for which we have seen strong interest from existing energy suppliers and social and commercial landlords. I would like to thank all of the team at Utilisoft Pty for their commitment and hard work and look forward to seeing the business develop under its new owner.”

UK, Darwen, Lancashire & Australia, Bathurst NSW

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