Antony Catalano fails in his air headed Domain return

Antony Catalano fails in his air headed Domain return
Antony Catalano fails in his air headed Domain return

The former Domain chief executive Antony Catalano failed in his eleventh-hour, air headed attempt to block Nine’s bid for Fairfax Media.

Some 81 percent of the Fairfax shareholders voted for the merger.

There was no appearance by the Melbourne-based former chief executive at the Sydney meeting Monday morning.

There was just one question from the floor as to whether the chairman Nick Falloon had given consideration to the request to postpone the vote to give greater consideration to Catalano's Sunday night missive.

The 81 percent vote included the use of some 16 percent open proxy votes which were voted in favour of the merger by the chairman.

Catalano had indicated he would buy up to 19.9 per cent of Fairfax to then implement a Domain-led turnaround strategy for the ailing media group from a board seat.

Fairfax shareholders voted to push ahead with the $4 billion merger, which would mark the end of the 177-year-old publisher as a stand-alone company. 

The Fairfax board met early Monday and unanimously urged a vote for the merger.

The merger needed 75 percent of total votes cast, so Catalano may have succeeded with more time.

Overnight Catalano hit out at the Fairfax Nine merge plan, saying the current proposal did not apply a sufficient premium for control of Fairfax’s majority-owned digital real estate arm, Domain.

He said $740 million in value in the share takeover had been lost since the planned merger was announced in July.

Catalano's friend, the billionaire investor Alex Waislitz said he planned to vote his Fairfax shares against the merger. 

Share market activist Stephen Mayne tweeted the 11.4 percent of voted shares and 18.51 percent of voting shareholders was "more resistance than usual" in these scheme merger deals.

The combination of Nine and Fairfax's publishing assets will create a business with around $500 million in revenue.

Over the weekend a prominent member of the Fairfax family, John B Fairfax attacked the Nine takeover of Fairfax, saying the Fairfax newspaper company and name has more credibility than the commercial network associated with media moguls Kerry Packer and Alan Bond.

Last week the former prime minister Paul Keating said the ACCC’s approval of the Nine-Fairfax merger was a "truly appalling decision."

Catalano has flagged he could challenge the merger deal in court next week, Fairfax Media has reported.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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