Fairfax Media staff cuts revealed through social media as due diligence continues through June
The two US-based private equity companies currently are looking at the books, and final bids might be expected in early July, or if no deal is struck then the already announced spin-off of Domain may finally take place
The Fairfax Media saga continues, and though I know many North American and European readers of TNM rarely stay up to date on media happenings down under, what is going on at Fairfax is pretty interesting.
The Fairfax Media drama probably started when it made two announcements: that it would spin off its digital real estate business, Domain, and when it said it would layoff 125 staffers. One led to unsolicited bids from two US-based private equity companies, the other to a week long newsroom strike.
One can understand why Domain is the real prize here. In the US, the equivalent was Move, which owned realtor.com. It, too, was acquired by a media company, when News Corp bought the digital service in 2014. It has proved to be the one area of News Corp that has shown consistent growth.
The move to spin off Domain would give Fairfax Media a much needed cash infusion, though it would already complicate Fairfax’s efforts to sustain revenue going forward.
But all that would be a moot point if Fairfax Media is sold off whole to either Hellman & Friedman who has bid $2.87 billion (AUS) for the company, or TPG Capital, who has bid first at $2.76 billion.
Meanwhile, Fairfax is following through on its staff cuts, with some familiar names writing their last contributions.
Alan Stokes, who has been a columnist and chief editorial writer for The Sydney Morning Herald, joining the paper in 1984, penned a farewell column.
“What follows is going to be gushy and gooey. So grab a tissue or a bucket, depending on how well you stomach schmaltzy self-indulgence,” Stokes began his last column.
“And so, dear readers, on extreme indulgence, with your permission, for one last time, may I just say… Such is life…” Stokes ended.
According to Mumbrella, which covers Australia’s media and marketing industries, “more than 100 staff have been informed whether or not they have been successful with their voluntary redundancy applications.”
Like all such cutbacks at newspapers, the sad roll call of journalists saying goodbye can be found on Twitter and on Fairfax Media websites.