Prime shareholders tick off Seven West Media’s $132m takeover bid

Headshot of Sean Smith
Sean SmithThe West Australian
Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton, right, with SWM chairman Kerry Stokes.
Camera IconSeven West Media chief executive James Warburton, right, with SWM chairman Kerry Stokes. Credit: Seven West Media/Seven West Media

Prime Media shareholders have overwhelmingly endorsed Seven West Media’s $132 million takeover offer, paving the way for the broadcast partners to combine before year’s end.

Prime chairman Cass O’Connor told a virtual meeting of the regional television group’s shareholders on Thursday that SWM’s bid offered a certain cash return versus “uncertain future returns”.

She also cited uncertainty associated with “structurally difficult operating environments coupled with looming renewal of Prime’s supply agreement with Seven and Prime’s revenue diversification strategy”.

About 99 per cent of voting shareholders backed the three resolutions which give effect to the takeover, with the $132m Seven is paying for Prime’s assets to be distributed to the latter’s shareholders via an estimated 36¢-a-share payment next month.

The deal was backed by major shareholders holding 43 per cent of Prime and endorsed by an independent expert’s report, which found the transaction fair and reasonable.

Prime owns free-to-air commercial television licences in Mildura in Victoria and regional WA in a joint venture arrangement with WIN Television.

SWM chief executive James Warburton said the tie-up made the group and its Seven television network the undisputed leader across Australia in total people and all major demographics, and provides advertisers a single platform to access capital city and regional markets.

Last month’s agreed bid came nearly two years after SWM’s first attempt at a takeover was blocked by Prime shareholders Antony Catalano and WIN Corp owner Bruce Gordon.

Shares in SWM, the owner of thewestcom.au and The West Australian newspaper, closed half a cent down at 61¢.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails