Seven West Media has this morning confirmed plans to buy Perth’s The Sunday Times newspaper and the Perth Now website from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.
Kerry Stokes’ Seven West and News Australia are also looking to implement a news sharing agreement, through which The West Australian newspaper will cooperate with News Corp’s daily papers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
The tie-up is reportedly worth up to $15 million, with sources telling Business News yesterday the acquisition was likely to have significant property-related motivations.
Seven West chief executive Tim Worner said today that the company was seeking to strengthen its commitment to Western Australia.
“We see the potential for a positive and growing future for The Sunday Times brand, which has been and will continue to be part of the fabric of this great state," he said.
“Importantly, this proposed acquisition will allow our company to be in a stronger position to compete with the increasing presence of global content and platform businesses in the delivery of news and information.
“The agreement will also deliver benefits to advertisers, with planned efficiencies in our sales operation covering seven days of publishing and delivering better solutions for our clients, coupled with News representing The West and The Sunday Times alongside their existing brands in other markets.”
The company said it would also explore the possibility of expanding its printing operations if the acquisition went ahead.
It is not yet clear whether Seven West would continue publishing The Sunday Times newspaper, or close the masthead and begin publishing a Sunday edition of The West Australian.
Sunday Times and Perth Now staff were briefed about the deal in April amid speculation of widespread job cuts at The Sunday Times.
Seven West and News Corporation are also joint venture partners in the Community Newspaper Group in Western Australia.
Seven West shares were 1.5 per cent higher to $1.08 each at 10am.