Australia's Nine Entertainment offers to buy rest of Macquarie Media

A television cameraman films the logo of Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd on display outside their Sydney headquarters in Australia, July 26, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray/Files

(Reuters) - Nine Entertainment on Monday offered to buy the remaining stake in Macquarie Media in a deal which values the company at A$275.4 million ($186.8 million), consolidating the broadcaster’s position in radio.

The deal makes Nine Entertainment Australia’s first media company with outright ownership in free-to-air television, print and radio assets since the government relaxed ownership rules in 2017.

Before that, media companies were only allowed to own businesses in two of those three sectors, but the rules were changed to help the industry take on global rivals like Netflix

Nine said it unit Fairfax Media would make an all-cash offer of A$1.46 for each Macquarie Media share, a discount of 16.3% to Macquarie’s last closing price on August 2.

In a separate statement, directors of Macquarie said they recommended Nine’s offer to shareholders, in the absence of a superior proposal.

Macquarie Media first confirmed it was in preliminary talks with Nine Entertainment in December last year, following a media report.

Nine currently holds a 54.4% stake in Macquarie Media through Fairfax, which it bought in 2018 for $1.6 billion.

Nine Chief Executive officer Hugh Marks said the joining of the two companies will lead to annual cost savings of more than A$10 million.

($1 = 1.4743 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; editing by Bill Rigby and Richard Pullin