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Newsprint rivals call off joint venture plans

Wednesday, 14 March 2012
By Print 21 Online Article

Fairfax Media has confirmed the collapse of joint venture negotiations with News Limited. The plan to share production facilities in Sydney and Melbourne could have saved the two media giants a much-needed $70 million per year, yet the logistics of competing mastheads sharing presses was always going to be complicated.

A spokesperson for Fairfax said that while JV talks had ceased for now, it would continue its three-year plan to reduce its cost base by $170 million. This includes scaling back its print business in favour of digital distribution and sharing content across platforms.

The publisher has not announced what its next move will be now that masthead consolidation talks have taken an indefinite hiatus, nor was it willing at the time of writing to comment on a contingency plan to build a smaller Sydney site on its own

The publisher used its recent half-yearly report, highlighting a 41% net profit slide of $96.7 million, to promote its new restructuring plan titles Fairfax of the Future.

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