On the same day as Seven West Media’s Thursday AGM, another more critical AGM was held by Fairfax Media where shareholders had to vote on the Domain spinoff. It was a near unanimous “yes” with 99.5% in favour of the float. Fairfax Media shareholders will get one Domain share for every 10 Fairfax shares and Fairfax will retain control of 60% of Domain. A Federal Court hearing next week is expected to approve the deal and then shares could commence trading on November 16.
CEO Greg Hywood talked about new digital products coming and confirmed Fairfax would continue publishing its seven-days print products “for years to come”.
With another nod to the future, Hywood also said he was looking forward to this time next year and updating shareholders on what should be a good year for the company.
He reported that between The Age, The SMH and The AFR, there are 236,000 digital subscriptions. Digital subscription revenue was up 21%.
He also noted that Stan, a JV with Nine, now has 800,000+ active subscribers. The performance of the radio division got a mention too with a note its earnings had improved 26%.
“We have taken the hard decisions in the publishing business and it will thrive following the Domain listing.” He said the publishing business now has sustainable business models.
In board votes, Todd Sampson was re-elected and Mickie Rosen (also on the board at LA Times owner Tronc and at Pandora in the US) was elected.