The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has given prior approval for a transaction that would otherwise result in breaches of the media diversity laws. The transaction involves a proposed acquisition by a subsidiary of Rural Press Pty Ltd (Rural Press) of shares in Prime Media Group Ltd (Prime). The acquisition would lead to Rural Press coming into control of Prime for the purposes of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act).
The transaction will cause a consolidation of control of media operations beyond what is permitted under the Act in the regional areas of Bendigo in Victoria and Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. If the transaction had proceeded without ACMA approval, it would have resulted in breaches of the media diversity laws in those two areas.
In accordance with the Act, before approving the transaction, the ACMA accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Rural Press to remedy the breaches in the affected areas. The undertaking commits Rural Press to procure the sale of newspapers it owns in each affected area within a period specified in the notice of approval.