Seven West Media’s proposed acquisition of prime Media Group is far from being a done deal, according to multiple reports.
Opposed to the deal, media boss Antony Catalano is looking to disrupt the takeover by becoming a major shareholder in Prime Media.
Interests associated with Catalano increased their stake in Prime Media from 4.9 per cent to 10.3 per cent on Wednesday, giving the former Fairfax and Domain executive significant sway in the upcoming approval vote.
The merger will need to get approval from 50 per cent of shareholders and 75 per cent of votes cast.
“I don’t think this deal by Seven achieves the best outcome for regional media, there are broader discussions that could be had that would produce a better regional media company and therefore better serve regional Australians,” Catalano told The Australian.
“Given what needs to happen in regional Australia, there’s an opportunity for a broader consolidation play, not simply allowing a metro company to buy a regional business.
Catalano’s disruption comes as the ACCC initiates its inquiry into the takeover.
The AFR reported that the ACCC sent a letter to industry participants on Tuesday seeking their views on the proposed deal.
The letter asks how the two networks “compete in the supply of content to consumers and the supply of advertising services to advertisers” and how other media platforms compete with Seven and Prime.
Additionally, it asks how the deal would impact prices and quality for advertisers and consumers and whether specific regions will be impacted by the deal.
Responses are due November 19, with the ACCC set to announce the findings on December 18.