Seven West Media has been given the all clear to complete its purchase of the $130m Prime Media Group in time for Christmas.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Thursday morning gave Seven its blessing to pursue the deal – which was pencilled in by both companies a month ago – bringing an end to the long-running pursuit of its regional affiliate.
Seven, which owns the West Australian newspaper and a national TV and digital network, originally tried to buy Prime in 2019.
But where the Kerry Stokes-backed firm was unable to seal the deal two years ago, in November it managed to convince Prime’s shareholders of the bona fides.
The $130m price tag represents a significant improvement on the $60m offered in 2019 and will give Prime investors 36 cents per share, including a special fully franked dividend of 26 cents.
A Prime shareholder vote on the package is set to take place on December 23 after the ACCC said it would not stand in the way of the deal.
“Consistent with our findings in 2019, we concluded that the proposed acquisition was unlikely to substantially lessen competition or choice for advertisers and consumers,” the ACCC said on Thursday.
“This is because Seven West Media and Prime are not particularly close competitors in the supply of advertising opportunities or the supply of media content, and other competitors will constrain the merged entity.”
Most of Prime’s broadcast content is supplied by Seven West Media, although Prime produces its own regional news in some regions, including the GWN7 News broadcast in regional WA on weeknights.
Prime’s major shareholders include ACM boss Anthony Catalano and his business partner Anthony Waislitz and media mogul Bruce Gordon.
Shares in Seven West Media were down 3.1 per cent at 62 cents in a flat morning for the ASX, while Prime shares rose 1.2 per cent to 43 cents.
Seven recently announced it had renegotiated its eye-watering $600m debt, securing improved terms with ANZ and Westpac.