There is uncertainty over whether the Bauer and Pacific Magazines deal will go ahead, despite getting approval for the $40m sale from the ACCC on Thursday.
The Australian is reporting Bauer is refusing to confirm if the deal will proceed, with CEO Brendon Hill failing to return calls and cancelling scheduled media interviews.
However, in an email to B&T on Wednesday, the day before the ACCC handed down its decision, Hill said: “We are still 100 per cent committed to the deal. A larger company, with increased scale and reach, is even more imperative in these troubled times.”
On Friday B&T attempted to get in touch with Hill for additional confirmation but did not receive a response.
It is likely the impacts and economic slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is behind the uncertainty.
Seven sent out a press release yesterday following the ACCC’s decision welcoming the sale.
Seven CEO James Warburton commented: “We welcome today’s regulatory approval of the sale of Pacific Magazines to Bauer Media.
“This transaction provides $40 million in cash consideration (pre-adjustments and leave provisions). Additionally, the $6.6 million of advertising we are receiving from Bauer over three years further enhances the value of the sale, allowing the titles to continue to reach the valuable audiences SWM commands.
“Pacific Magazines has always been an important part of Seven West Media and will leave a lasting legacy, and I want to personally thank the hard working and dedicated team who have worked tirelessly to transform the business in response to changing market conditions.
“These efforts mean that Pacific’s assets will have a bright future as part of a larger group with Bauer, and SWM will maintain a relationship through the successful television show Better Homes and Gardens,” Warburton said.
However, there was no additional word from Bauer Media.
The ACCC has spent months reviewing the potential sale, confirming yesterday that ” the proposed acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any market.”
It added: “Magazine publishers have suffered significant and progressive circulation and revenue declines in the last ten years, which has resulted in less investment in content and fewer retail promotions. In particular, the ACCC noted that significant circulation and revenue declines in the last few years has resulted in the closure of magazine titles, with further magazine title closures in the future regardless of the proposed acquisition,” the statement read.