News Corp Australia is reportedly in discussion with Australian Community Media to sell its stable of over 100 community and regional titles.
As reported on The Oz, the potential deal, which could be inked this week, would restructure News Corps papers around city mastheads.
However, the deal is not final yet, and may even fall through, with sources telling The Oz there are still some points of disagreement, including which titles would be included in the deal. It is believed News Corp still want to retain some of its key regional titles, including NT News.
Another potential issue still being discussed is whether News Corp will still own its printing plants in the regions.
News Corp previously put its regional publishing business up for sale but withdrew it following the merger of Nine and Fairfax in 2018, and then Catalano brought ACM from Nine in June last year for $125m.
If Catalano’s ACM was to acquire News Corp papers, it would make it a force to be reckoned with in regional and community publishing.
The news of the potential sale follows News Corp Australia announcing in April it would suspend 60 of its community titles following the coronavirus crisis, while ACM has also been forced to suspend printing of its non-daily mastheads.
News Corp’s decision to suspend titles is reportedly what renewed Catalano’s interested in buying the media company’s stable of regional and community titles.
In its third-quarter results announced this week, News Corp global chief executive Robert Thomson said a strategic review of the company’s community newspapers was almost finished.
He said: “A thorough re-evaluation of our assets continues and a strategic review of our community and regional newspapers in Australia is at an advanced stage.”
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