News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller has said WIN Corporation owner Bruce Gordon has made Australian media consolidation “difficult”.
Gordon recently furthered his interest in the regional affiliate partner of the Seven Network purchasing 4.9 per cent more in Prime Media’s shares.
The move fuelled speculation Gordon may also be looking to grow his interest in Nine Entertainment, which he currently holds a 14.97 per cent stake in.
Speaking publicly yesterday, Miller said, “I think there are some shareholdings which are making it difficult for companies to transact.
“Particularly, Bruce Gordon and the WIN Group have a share across a number, they have made transactions more difficult.”
Last year, Gordon and Lachlan Murdoch made a bid for Network Ten, though despite several attempts, Ten was eventually bought by US media conglomerate CBS.
He also went on to call consolidation in Australian media “inevitable”.
For Miller, consolidation would allow Australian media outlets to operate on a more level playing field to their international counterparts.
“For us as individual media companies, not just News Corp, to compete with some of the global tech companies that are very present in our markets we’re going to need scale.”
Adding to this, Miller said since the media reforms passed last year, media companies have had acquisitions and mergers in their sights, in an extremely vague way.
“Where will the dust settle? At the moment there’s a lot of, I wouldn’t say flirting, I think there’s a lot of dancing,” Miller said.
Despite these comments, when asked whether News Corp would be acquiring a free-to-air network, Miller responded with, “No, not today”.
Earlier this month, the rumour mill went into overdrive when reports surfaced that Australia could soon have its first ever commercial 24-hour business channel on free-to-air TV, as Nine was reportedly discussing the possibility of part-owning Sky News Business with News Corp.
The deal that was being talked about between the two media giants included a rebrand of Sky Business News, along with an expanded focus to cover areas such as personal finance and consumer issues in light of the banking royal commission, according to The Australian.
In May, many speculated Seven West Media’s (SWM) cost-cutting measures may lure in News Corp.