Fairfax Media yesterday announced they have entered into an agreement to merge Fairfax Community Newspapers in Victoria with Metro Media Publishing (owner of the The Weekly Review). Under the agreement Fairfax will contribute assets along with 35 million, in return obtaining 50% interest and voting rights in MMP.
The Weekly Review is a free weekly lifestyle magazine that competes against Fairfax’s existing magazine The Melbourne Weekly. It’s an important purchase for Fairfax as it means they will now retain the lucrative advertising contracts the The Melbourne Weekly lost last year when The Weekly Review was launched.
This is the second time Fairfax has had to buy a Melbourne based magazine in order to secure real estate print contracts, having previously paid $67 million to purchase The Melbourne Weekly from “Text Media” in 2003. What’s very interesting, is that on both occasions ex Fairfax employees were behind the creation of the magazines.
Commenting on the transaction, Fairfax Media’s CEO of Marketplaces Nic Cola said
“We are delighted to be partnering with Antony Catalano and MMP to provide a more integrated and improved suite of products to real estate agents and their clients across the combined network. The real estate industry has been a great supporter of Fairfax Media for many decades, and we are committed to ensuring that our product offering evolves in accordance with the needs of both our advertisers and our readers.”
Antony Catalano, Managing Director of MMP said
“We are pleased with the success that MMP has achieved since we identified the opportunity to work with leading real estate agents on the launch of The Weekly Review in April 2010. I look forward to a close relationship with Fairfax Media as we set out to embed the MMP ethos across the combined business.
The merger is a smarter move than buying the magazine outright, as it means the existing owners still have an interest in the magazine and an incentive to make sure these real estate advertising contracts continue.