Former Domain chief executive Antony Catalano has secured Nine Entertainment’s regional and community newspapers, once owned by Fairfax, in a deal worth $115 million.
Nine’s Australian Community Media and Printing business (ACM), which includes more than 160 regional publications including Newcastle Herald and The Canberra Times, will be acquired by a company controlled by Antony Catalano and ASX-listed Thorney Investment Group.
Catalano spent 26 years with Fairfax and was chief executive of Domain for four years before leaving in 2018.
The cash proceeds of the $115 million deal are subject to post-completion adjustments, of which $10 million will be paid in 12 months.
Nine chief executive officer Hugh Marks said the sale of ACM was aligned with the company’s strategy to exit non-core businesses and focus on Nine’s portfolio of “high-growth, digital assets”.
“We will retain a commercial relationship with ACM and look forward to continuing to work with the business in areas where there are mutual benefits to both Nine and ACM,” he said.
As part of the deal, Nine will receive up to $10m of advertising within ACM properties over three years.
ACM and Nine will also keep the existing commercial relationships, which includes printing of Nine’s metro publications —The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review — and, for a short transitional period, sharing of content between the publications.
In November last year Catalano made a last minute attempt to disrupt the Fairfax media and Nine Entertainment merger, which was rejected by shareholders.
New digs, new business in 2019
If you were keeping count, the year has started off well for the ex-Domain boss.
Catalano also emerged as Melbourne’s most expensive apartment owner, purchasing a reported $30 million two-storey penthouse in Tim Gurner’s St Kilda development in February.
The ACM sale is subject to customary terms and is expected to finalise by the end of June.