Weekly News Roundup

July 27, 2018

Image: ABC News

FRIDAY JULY 27

Fairfax and Nine have announced a $4 billion merger

Fairfax and Nine have announced a $4 billion merger that will create an integrated media giant across television, online video streaming, print, digital and real estate advertising — and erase the Fairfax name.

Nine will be the dominant partner, with its current shareholders holding 51.1 per cent of the merged company’s shares, and the current Nine chief executive and chairman — Hugh Marks and former federal treasurer Peter Costello, respectively — leading the combined firm, which will be called Nine.

Fairfax will contribute three directors to a board of six.

Fairfax’s directors have unanimously recommended the deal, unless another company comes in with a better offer.

“The structure of the proposed transaction provides an exciting opportunity for our shareholders to maintain their exposure to Fairfax’s growing businesses whilst also participating in the combination benefits with Nine,” Fairfax’s chairman Nick Falloon said in a statement.

The proposed merged media giant will include Nine’s free-to-air television network, digital advertising businesses (such as Domain), streaming services Stan and 9Now, Fairfax’s newspapers and online publications, as well as Fairfax’s Macquarie Media radio interests.

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Greece fires: Arson suspected in Mati blaze as authorities also blame ‘town planning chaos’ for disaster

It is suspected that arson was behind a devastating forest fire which killed at least 83 people and turned the small town of Mati east of Athens into a wasteland of death and destruction, Greece’s Government says.

In one of the worst Greek disasters in living memory, the blaze trapped dozens of people in their cars trying to flee a barrelling wall of flames.

“We have serious indications and significant signs suggesting the criminal actions of arson,” Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas told a news conference.

With the toll from Greece’s deadliest wildfire in decades expected to rise further, about 300 firefighters and volunteers were still combing the area for dozens still missing.

Desperate relatives appeared on television to plead for information on those missing, while questions mounted on how people got trapped, and why no evacuation order was issued.

“This shouldn’t have happened, people perished for no reason,” a tearful woman shouted at Defence Minister Panos Kammenos as he visited the town and nearby fire-ravaged areas.

“You left us at God’s mercy.”

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Facebook shares take a dive in wake of data scandals

Facebook lost $US119 billion in value overnight, among the biggest single-day falls in US stock market history.

That is nearly the entire market value of McDonald’s ($US122 billion), Nike ($US123 billion) and IBM ($US134 billion), ABC News reports.

The 19 per cent drop in Facebook’s share price (to $US176.26) marked the social media giant’s worst trading day since it went public in 2012.

As a consequence, the personal fortune of Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg fell by about $US15 billion.

That “bombshell” announcement, as one analyst described it, played into concerns that Facebook’s business model could be under threat — after a year dominated by efforts to head off concerns over privacy and its role in global news flow.

Some analysts said Facebook’s issues would not be easily resolved.

“Unlike Netflix, whose quarterly shortfall we saw as temporary, here we see an evolution of the story, albeit a portion of which we expected,” BMO Capital Markets analysts Daniel Salmon said.

Others, however, saw a silver lining in Facebook’s emphasis on more engaging content and its promotion of stories on its News Feed, which would support revenue over the longer term.

 

This weekly news roundup has been curated with stories from ABC News.

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