Pacific Star Network to buy sports content business Crocmedia

Radio broadcaster and magazine publisher Pacific Star Network has announced its intention to merge with sports content and entertainment business Crocmedia.
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Under the merger, Pacific Star Network will issue 91.6 million shares to Crocmedia’s shareholders and executives in exchange for 100 per cent of the equity in the sports content firm.

The merger is still subject to shareholder approval to be held at a general meeting in March.

Pacific Star Network is known for its AM commercial broadcasting licences and broadcasts on 116 SEN and Classic Rock Radio, as well as three digital stations; AUSSIE, KOOOL and Rythmos.

The merger would “create a leading sports content and entertainment business of scale with complementary services across multiple media platforms, providing a clear point of differentiation and an attractive platform for growth,” a release to shareholders on Monday said.

Crocmedia’s business also includes an events arm, boutique creative agency, talent management, branded content and racing media sales.

The combined group will have two Melbourne-based broadcast licences and syndication agreements with 200 frequencies in 88 radio markets across metropolitan and regional .

Pacific Star Network chairman Craig Coleman told shareholders the proposed merger was “transformational” for the business and would create a platform for future growth, allowing them to provide brand partners with multiple platforms.

It also allowed them to leverage the “combined platform and operational expertise with other potential sports rights opportunities”.

And it would allow the companies to cut costs, with $3 million worth of savings in “cost synergies” calculated.

Walkley award winner Craig ‘Hutchy’ Hutchison, a well known sports broadcaster, co-founded Crocmedia in 2006.

Under the merger, Mr Hutchison will be the future chief executive and managing director of Pacific Star Network.

“We look forward to growing even further nationally and beyond and being the best place to connect fans to stars, and brands to fans,” Mr Hutchison said.

Crocmedia became an umbrella holder of AFL rights in a six-year radio rights deal signed in late-2016, allowing it to oversee programming and match-day calling agreements with AFL broadcasters across the country.

In 2014, Pacific Star Network spent $10.8 million to buy Morrison Media Services, a publisher of titles including Frankie, Smith Journal and SEN Inside Football.

Last year, Pacific Star Network closed loss-making titles Slow, Surfing Life and White Horses. It also closed its Gold Coast office to centralise in Melbourne.

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