Media Unmade - Chapter 18: The 800-Pound Gorilla
In which Fairfax Media floats Domain and Antony Catalano makes an angry exit, before Nine and Fairfax come together in the biggest Australian media deal of the decade
Welcome to the latest Unmade podcast. Today’s edition features another extract from the audio edition of my book, Media Unmade, which is published by Hardie Grant and available online and in book stores.
In today’s chapter, we reach the end of Fairfax Media’s 177-year-old story.
Five years ago, the management of Fairfax Media was running out of time. Although the company’s secret blue team was almost ready to take control of the metro newspapers with their new operating model, the February 2017 ASX update was going to show profitability crashing. Unless the board had a new piece of news to offer, the share price would crash too. So it was time to float Domain.
Antony Catalano, who was CEO of Domain, hated the plan, and had no respect for chairman Nick Falloon. Not long after the float, the pair fell out, with Catalano leaving the company. He offered Falloon some harsh advice on how technology works, as he walked out of the door.
And then came Project Wolfgang, the deal that rewrote Australia’s media landscape. In July 2018, Nine and Fairfax Media revealed that they had agreed a merger. Nine would be the senior partner, with CEO Hugh Marks in charge of the industry’s newest 800 pound gorilla.
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Time to let you go about your Thursday. Have a great day.