Seven West Media agrees deal to merge with Prime Media

James Warburton

Seven West Media (SWM) in Australia is set to merge with its affiliated regional broadcaster Prime Media.

SWM, which owns Seven Network in Oz, has been battling to cut costs and debt after recording a loss of US$444m in the last financial year. The deal, described as a merger, is expected to lead to savings of US$7.5m.

The merger values Prime at AUS$63m (US$43m) and is subject to shareholder approval, but the two companies are eyeing a completion date in early 2020.

The combined operation will be led by James Warburton, Seven’s MD and CEO, and Seven chairman Kerry Stokes.

Warburton described the transaction as ” a game changer for advertisers and media buyers and cements SWM’s position as the superior advertising offering. Overnight, SWM will be the leading wholly-owned commercial premium network that amasses a monthly Australian audience reach of 18 million people.”

SWM has also struck a US$19m deal to sell its Western Australian radio businesses to Southern Cross Media.

Australia’s TV business has had a tumulutous time over recent years, with Network Ten being bought by CBS in 2017 and broadcaster Nine Network buying media group Fairfax a year later.

Those deals came after reforms to media regulations in 2017, which had previously stopped a network broadcasting to more than 75% of the country’s population and prevented a person from controlling more than two interests involving commercial radio, commercial television or newspapers in the same region.

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