Business

Fairfax shareholders approve Nine merger after bid to delay deal failed

Nine-Fairfax plans to shed 144 positions. Source: AAP

Fairfax shareholders have voted in favour of the proposed merger with Nine Entertainment, after a late bid to save the Fairfax Media name failed.

Fairfax shareholders have voted in favour of the proposed merger with Nine Entertainment.

The shareholders approved the scheme of arrangement on Monday after the failure of an 11th-hour attempt to save the Fairfax Media name by former Domain chief executive Antony Catalano.

The merger, which has already been approved by the competition watchdog, now faces final court approval on November 27.

Mr Catalano, had asked in a letter for Monday's shareholder meeting to be adjourned for two weeks so his late proposal could be heard.

But Fairfax said on Monday this will not happen.

"The letter contains no actual proposal that could be considered by Fairfax shareholders as an alternative to the proposed scheme of arrangement with Nine," Fairfax said in a statement to the ASX.

"The letter from Mr Catalano does not constitute a superior proposal under the terms of the scheme implementation agreement between Fairfax and Nine, and therefore the Fairfax board is unable to consider it in any event."

The Fairfax board met on Monday morning and will proceed with the shareholders' meeting as planned.

The board has unanimously recommended shareholders vote in favour of the scheme.

Mr Catalano wanted to block the merger by buying up to 19.9 per cent of Fairfax.

The merger would leave Australia with four major media players instead of five, with Nine adding newspapers such as The Age, The Australian Financial Review and The Sydney Morning Herald to its free-to-air TV network.

The deal would also give the new business Fairfax's majority stake in Domain, streaming service Stan, and a 54.5 per cent stake in the Macquarie Media radio network.

The merger was initially flagged in July, with the competition watchdog already giving the green light this month after finding it would not substantially diminish competition in Australian news and media.

The deal would face a final court approval on November 27.

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