August 11, 2019 / 10:41 PM / 3 months ago

Australia's Nine Entertainment offers to buy rest of Macquarie Media

(Reuters) - Nine Entertainment (NEC.AX) on Monday offered to buy the remaining stake in Macquarie Media MRN.AX in a deal which values the company at A$275.4 million ($186.8 million), consolidating the broadcaster’s position in radio.

The deal makes Nine Entertainment Australia’s first media company with outright ownership in free-to-air television, print and radio assets since the government relaxed ownership rules in 2017.

Before that, media companies were only allowed to own businesses in two of those three sectors, but the rules were changed to help the industry take on global rivals like Netflix (NFLX.O)

Nine said it unit Fairfax Media would make an all-cash offer of A$1.46 for each Macquarie Media share, a discount of 16.3% to Macquarie’s last closing price on August 2.

In a separate statement, directors of Macquarie said they recommended Nine’s offer to shareholders, in the absence of a superior proposal.

Macquarie Media first confirmed it was in preliminary talks with Nine Entertainment in December last year, following a media report.

Nine currently holds a 54.4% stake in Macquarie Media through Fairfax, which it bought in 2018 for $1.6 billion.

Nine Chief Executive officer Hugh Marks said the joining of the two companies will lead to annual cost savings of more than A$10 million.

($1 = 1.4743 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; editing by Bill Rigby and Richard Pullin

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