Fairfax consumed by Nine
Fairfax has a charter of editorial independence, which all owners since 1990 have signed up to. Will Nine sign up to it? Will the charter have any meaning when the newspapers are owned by a company whose chairman, Peter Costello, was treasurer in the Liberal-National Coalition government of former Prime Minister John Howard?
When the federal government opened the door to the possibility of new ownership constellations in the industry by relaxing media laws in October last year, Nine didn’t have its ducks in a row. It wasn’t in a position to make a serious proposal.
All media players had since been circulating their dance cards, but Fairfax was always the centrepiece of any big deal.
Seven was having discussions with Fairfax, but apparently Kerry Stokes – or more to the point, his son Ryan Stokes – was a seller of media assets rather than a buyer.