Just a short post today on two interesting developments in the media world.
Firstly, Dennis O'Brien, Irish billionaire who now owns 21% of Independent News & Media looks like he may have to put up or shut up in his potential quest for ownership of the Irish Media business. He has publicly criticised Tony O'Reilly's ongoing ownership of the loss making UK Independents, and pushed for their sale. Much talk around the industry about what would happen if the titles closed, but personally our view is that there will always be a buyer for a national newspaper, regardless of how loss-making it is. As the Barclay Brothers and Richard Desmond have demonstrated in the last few years, national newspapers do get bought when they get put on the market. Maybe Axel Springer could return with a bid for a UK title, or maybe David Montgomery may feel like a UK presence for his European wide business could be too good an opportunity to pass up.
Our view, O'Reilly doesn't want to sell, and provided he can repel the unwanted dissident shareholder, we can't see the Independent changing hands
Second story of the day - the collapse of the bid by Lachlan Murdoch to takeover Consolidated Media Holdings, part of the Packer dynasty. Reports indicate that this came down to Lachlan being unable to get the right price for the right shareholding in the JV - and the backers pulled out through fear over the investment required in todays volatile global economy. Things must be serious when a Murdoch and a Packer can't get a deal done. Which target is next for Murdoch Jnr?