Endemol has acquired the Southern Star Group from Fairfax Media for $75 million AUD ($50 million USD) plus earnouts.
Included in the sale is Southern Star International, said to be one of the world’s largest independent distributors of English-language programming, and owner of 14,000 hours of content.
Subsidiary Southern Star Entertainment is Australia’s largest independent TV producer, and responsible for shows including Blue Heelers, The Secret Life of Us and many more.
Endemol already had a relationship with Southern Star through the JV Edemol Southern Star, producing shows including Big Brother.
Speculation has been mounting in Australia as to the financial state of Fairfax Media. The company has a strong debt exposure in a difficult market, and advertising rates at its flagship papers (The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald) are reported to be in decline. Fairfax said in a statement that it would use the proceeds to retire debt.