Media merger activity likely to spike: Sims

Rapidly-changing technology has prompted Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims to admit he may be more open to media mergers, according to The Australian Financial Review.

Mr Sims said he is expecting a rush of media merger activity as a result of the fast-evolving sector and federal government changes to aspects of media ownership rules.

"If the diversity rules change, that unleashes merger activity,” he told the AFR.

"If someone were to say, 'Is our media sector too concentrated with two newspaper groups?' because that's essentially what we've got, I would say, 'No, two newspaper groups does not cause me any concern'. If one wanted to take over the other we'd have concerns, but you've got competition from radio, television and the internet.”

Media companies are closely watching whether the federal government follows through on reforming reach rules preventing the merger of regional and metropolitan free-to-air broadcasters.

Presently, one company can own no more than "two out of three” media platforms, referring to radio, newspapers and TV, in a single market.

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