Fairfax Media Limited is one of Australia's largest diversified media companies. The group's operations include newspapers, magazines, radio and digital media operating in Australia and New Zealand. Fairfax Media was founded by the Fairfax family as John Fairfax and Sons, later to become John Fairfax Holdings. The Fairfax family lost control of the company in December 1990. It was renamed from John Fairfax Holdings to Fairfax Media in 2007.
The group's Chairman is Roger Corbett and the Chief Executive Officer is Greg Hywood. As of May 2008 Fairfax Media had a market capitalisation of over A$5 billion. The number of printed edition readers has fallen since at least 2006 and the group's stock price has declined by more than 60 percent since 2007, to less than A$2 billion by September 2011, and by 85 percent at June 2012.
The group's largest shareholder, with a stake of approximately 14.9% is Gina Rinehart, the world's wealthiest woman. In mid 2012 it was reported that Rinehart had appointed Bell Potter Brokerage to increase her total share to 19.99 percent, the maximum allowed before a takeover offer must be made. However due to provisions in the Fairfax Media insurance policy denying cover for directors holding an ownership interest of greater than 15%, Ms Rinehart was forced to sell down to 14.99%.
On 18 June 2012, Fairfax Media announced it would cut 1,900 staff and begin to erect paywalls around the websites of its two main metropolitan newspapers, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. It also announced it was shifting to "compact" or tabloid-sized editions of the broadsheet newspapers from March 2013, and that its two printing facilities at Chullora and Tullamarine would close. The changes, prompted by shrinking advertising revenue, were expected to generate A$235 million in annual savings over three years.
Read more about Fairfax Media: History
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“The media network has its idols, but its principal idol is its own style which generates an aura of winning and leaves the rest in darkness. It recognises neither pity nor pitilessness.”
—John Berger (b. 1926)