It’s ‘game on’ in the battle for control of Fairfax

Fairfax Media appears extremely close to being declared ‘on the market’ as a new bidder, Hellman & Friedman, entered the auction room on Wednesday night with an indicative offer that trumped the TPG offer already on the table. This could easily mark the start of a bidding war between two US private equity groups, likely to move the 176-year-old media group into foreign hands.

In a strange historic twist, Hellman & Friedman – which lobbed a prospective price of between $1.225 and $1.25 a share – is no ordinary bidder: It was part of Tourang – a consortium of investors including Canadian media baron Conrad Black and the late Kerry Packer, which bought Fairfax out of receivership in 1992.

Hellman’s current Emeritus chairman, Brian Powers, was once the chairman of Fairfax and later became Kerry Packer’s right-hand man.

For the full story read The Sydney Morning Herald