Nine CEO works to address uncertainty as Macquarie Media comes into the fold

With the acquisition of Macquarie Media now officially completed, Nine's Hugh Mark meets with employees to address ongoing integration plans

Nine Entertainment Company CEO, Hugh Marks, will spend the week reassuring staff across Macquarie Media’s national offices of his company’s commitment to their distinctive brands and editorial content as the radio network officially becomes part of Nine.

Nine’s acquisition of the remaining 45.5 per cent of Macquarie Media for $113.9 million was officially concluded on Friday, bringing the radio network into Nine’s portfolio of cross-channel businesses. It’s an ecosystem Nine claims makes it the leading offering in Australia’s media landscape, encompassing television, publishing, digital, video streaming and radio.

Operational conclusion of the deal, first announced in August, comes just on a year after Nine passed the last legal hurdle and gained the green light for its merger with Fairfax Media. Nine inherited its majority stake in Macquarie through the Fairfax acquisition.

In a statement to Macquarie employees today, Marks said the mission is to create great content, distribute it broadly and engage both audiences and advertisers. He highlighted plans to invest more than $400 million annually into premium news and editorial content.

The comments were made as the group last week confirmed Tom Malone, an experienced reporter, producer and most recently director of sports incorporating Wide World of Sports for Nine, as the new managing director of radio. Former Macquarie Media CEO, Adam Lang, left the organisation on 25 October, with his role made redundant under the new combined structure.

The Macquarie network includes 2GB, 3AW, 4BC, 6PR and the Macquarie Sports Network.

“We are big believers in the power of Macquarie’s talk radio network and in its people,” Marks stated. “Talk radio has an innate power to drive debate and to speak up on behalf of the community.

“We are confident with the full backing of Nine, we can continue to grow the radio business and will work to ensure you have the support, infrastructure and clarity to be able to do what you do best.”

Marks also stressed a commitment to minimising disruption as the two organisations come together, even as he flagged several decisions, including relocation plans, are yet to be finalised.

“I’m conscious that events in recent weeks have led to some uncertainty within the business,” Marks continued. “We are working hard to align these two businesses to capitalise on the benefits of the transaction, such as aligning both sales teams, particularly from an agency perspective. But there are still some decisions, such as whether there will be relocations in some states, to be resolved.”

The uncertainly was arguably exacerbated by reports surfacing last week of how Nine is kicking off major integration efforts across its newsrooms nationally as part of a proposed $10 million efficiency program.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reports, the integration is already seeing radio newsroom staff listening in to local Nine morning editorial calls as well as sharing editorial resources across multiple brands.

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