Two printers one client as ACCC gives mags go-ahead

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The country's two big printers, IVE and Ovato, will now be working for the same major client, as the country's two big magazine publishers are joining forces on 9 April.

Bauer 359
Bauer: to be one with Pacific Magazines

The ACCC has given the go-ahead for the deal, which sees Bauer buying Pacific Magazines for $40m plus $6.6m worth of advertising, citing digital competition as the reason why the two biggest printed magazine players could become one.

Ovato has the Bauer contract, while IVE prints for Pacific Magazines. Bauer has around 35 per cent of the local magazine market, while Pac Mags has around 22 per cent. The only other publisher of size is News Corp's News Life Media.

While both IVE and Ovato would naturally want the whole Bauer Pacific contract, industry sources say it likely the publisher will continue using both printers, in order to maintain competitive pricing, and guarantee of supply.

Neither Ovato nor IVE is solely dependent on magazine printing, but if either lost the contract to the other it would be a blow for their heatset operations.

Between them the big two printers have virtually all the country’s heatset capacity, and the same applies in New Zealand.

Speaking to Print21 Geoff Selig, executive chairman of IVE said, “The deal makes sense. We have a good relationship with both companies, and we are a good strategic fit for the new business.”

Kevin Slaven, CEO of PMP, told Print21, “It is a positive move. It shows Bauer’s commitment to magazines, it is good for the industry. We have shown our commitment to both publishers over the years.”

The deal gives Bauer a dominance over magazines in Australia with a 55 per cent market share, and with market leadership in most of the categories, combining more than 50 titles under one roof including The Australian Women's Weekly, Gourmet Traveller, New Idea, and Better Homes & Gardens.

Bauer publishes the biggest paid-for magazine, The Australian Women’s Weekly, and the number three title Woman’s Day.

Pacific publishes number-two Better Homes & Gardens, and numbers four and five New Idea, and That’s Life. The country’s biggest magazine print run is actually for the Coles content marketing magazine, published by Melbourne outfit Medium Rare, with rival Fresh from Woolworth’s the number two, both given away at the checkout.

Bauer was originally Kerry Packer’s famous ACP, sold to the Germany-based business by his son James six years ago, as he sought to focus his attention and funds on his casino business. Pacific Magazines was part of PMP before it was spun off as a separate business by Rupert Murdoch, as he attempted to pay down debt in the 1990s.

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