29 Dec 2012

Media mogul joins forces with Rinehart on Fairfax

1:51 pm on 29 December 2012

Australian media entrepreneur John Singleton has taken a stake in Fairfax Media and is teaming up with Gina Rinehart to push for a "significant" say in the company.

Mr Singleton says his entry into Fairfax follows the board's decision "definitively closing the door" on a sale or joint venture of their radio assets to his Macquarie Radio Network.

Mr Singleton and his partner, venture capitalist Mark Carnegie, announced late on Friday that their Gutenberg Investments had purchased shares in Fairfax Media and would team up with Ms Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting.

The media and advertising mogul said he and Mr Carnegie had met with Ms Rinehart, Australia's richest woman, but their association was in the early stages. They would file a substantial shareholder notice to the market on Monday.

"It was clear to me from the start that there was a mutual interest in working together," he said.

"However it is important to state that both Gina and I believe that the lifeblood of Fairfax is the integrity and accuracy of its journalism.

"This in no way would be compromised if Hancock Prospecting and Gutenberg Investments had a significant say in the future of Fairfax."

But Mr Singleton took a swipe at the board, and said the Fairfax Charter of Independence should be reviewed.

"I think the current board has struggled to come to terms with the new environment, which is there for all to see in the share price and the lack of direction at the company," he said.